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United Way Needs Your Help this Tax Season!

Become a volunteer tax preparer and help us save critical tax credits

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While many are gearing up for the hustle and bustle of the holidays, United Way of Northern New Jersey is already preparing for the upcoming tax season.  And we need your help to provide support for families who are struggling to survive, many of whom we call ALICE.  

We are working with AARP, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and NORWESCAP to recruit volunteers to help us provide free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income families and individuals in northern New Jersey.  In addition, we are advocating to protect critical Earned Income Tax Credits for hardworking people in our communities.

Did you know?

Many low-income households pay fees of $200 or more in tax preparation costs that could have been saved by using an IRS-certified volunteer tax preparer.  

Additionally, many of these households are not claiming specialized tax credits – like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Education Tax Credit – designed to provide relief.  Millions of dollars in specialized credits go unclaimed every year in New Jersey, often because families and individuals do not know they exist.  These dollars can be turned into savings and can help build the financial assets of a family to move them forward on their path to financial stability. 

We need you!

Last tax season, hundreds of community volunteers prepared 8,528 free tax returns at libraries, community centers, and places of worship across northern New Jersey.

You can help us offer this invaluable service to local residents again this year!  We need volunteers to help us expand this vital service across the region to reach the growing number of community members in need.

No experience is necessary!  A free training program provides all the information needed to prepare both federal and state tax returns.  The training is offered to anyone interested in becoming a tax preparation volunteer and who can commit four hours a week from February through Tax Day.  Click here to find a training session in your community.

There are free tax sites throughout Morris, North Essex, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties.  To learn more about these free tax sites and volunteer opportunities, email Lisa Galonardo or call 908.253.6503.

Help us save the Earned Income Tax Credit!

The EITC is broadly considered the nation's largest and most effective anti-poverty program.  In recent years, critical improvements were made to the EITC for larger families and married couples, helping to lift about 500,000 people out of poverty. These improvements are set to expire at the end of 2012.

United Way has seen the power of the EITC at work in our northern New Jersey communities.  Last year we provided free tax preparation for our neighbors, helping them claim more than $1.2 million in Earned Income Tax Credits. These much needed funds can make all the difference when families are forced to choose between paying bills and putting food on the table.

We need your help to protect these improvements to the EITC!  We encourage you to send a letter of support to your members of Congress. Getting involved is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Write your representative! Click here to download our sample letter. Have a personal EITC story?  Add it to this letter to help demonstrate how critical these credits can be to a family in need.
  2. Once you have tailored the letter to your liking, click here to send the letter off to your local representative through United Way’s electronic form.

To learn more about the United Way Income Tax Assistance Program, click here.

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