By filing their taxes, some 140,000 eligible households can receive the credit
Thousands of cash-strapped New Jersey families with children are at risk of missing out on millions they are due this tax season, according to new research from United Way of Northern New Jersey. Recent findings show that 138,000 households have not yet received any Child Tax Credit payments, leaving an estimated $415 million unclaimed.
Last year’s American Rescue Plan expanded the credit to reach more families, including those United Way calls ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) who earn above the poverty level, but less than what is needed to afford the basics. To receive the full credit payment, families will need to file a return this year. The benefits stand to be significant with a maximum credit of $3,600 per child aged 5 or younger and $3,000 for children aged 6-17.
United Way of Northern New Jersey’s research arm, called United For ALICE, uncovered this data by analyzing U.S. Census surveys between July and October 2021. This analysis revealed that 41% of ALICE and poverty-level households across the U.S. did not receive the advance Child Tax Credit payment they were due. The rate was even higher in New Jersey at 50%. These findings expand on the IRS reporting that there are millions of households whose children had not been claimed on a recent tax return or do not appear on recent tax records and who may still be eligible to claim the expanded credit.
“By filing their taxes this year, families who are struggling to afford the basics could receive a much-needed financial lifeline,” said United Way of Northern New Jersey CEO Kiran Handa Gaudioso. “Any credit or refund they receive can mean the heat stays on; child care is covered; rent is paid.”
To help low- and moderate-income households throughout its region get what they are due, United Way and its partners — the IRS, Norwescap, and Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church — are once again offering free tax preparation and filing services. Using a safe and secure online portal, residents can file both state and federal returns.
“In addition to helping residents benefit from any eligible tax credits, we also help them save the average $270 fee charged by paid tax preparers,” Gaudioso said.
By visiting https://uwnnj.org/freetaxprep, tax filers can access the easy-to-use online system, which features secure document uploads, encrypted email communication, and video conferencing. Assistance and forms are available in both English and Spanish.
Clients can expect a high-quality experience with IRS tax law-certified preparers, a double review process, and completed returns within seven to 10 days from all documents being submitted.
Last year, United Way and its partners made it possible for 5,600 households to file their taxes for free, refunding $5.8 million and saving residents $1.5 million in tax preparation costs.
For more information about United Way’s free, quality tax preparation program, documents needed, and information about common tax credits, visit: https://uwnnj.org/freetaxprep.
To learn about additional filing options or for questions about the online filing portal, email UnitedWayTaxPrep@UnitedWayNNJ.org or leave a message in English or Spanish at 973.993.1160, x5 and a tax specialist will return your call.