Low- and moderate-income residents can receive free tax prep and filing services during the pandemic
Beginning February 1, 2021, area residents can access free tax preparation services through a safe and secure online portal designed by United Way of Northern New Jersey to keep clients and preparers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This enables United Way and its partners — the IRS, Norwescap, and Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church — to continue a long-standing tradition of providing free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income households.
“Knowing that 6,000 struggling families across our region rely on us annually to prepare and file their tax returns for free, we designed a solution that keeps everyone safe and healthy and preserves our commitment to providing this service,” said United Way CEO Kiran Handa Gaudioso. “We are ready to help individuals and families get back every dollar they have earned and file for federal stimulus funds they are due.”
By visiting uwnnj.org/freetaxprep, tax filers can access the easy-to-use online system to have their state and federal tax returns prepared and filed electronically. The system uses secure document uploads, encrypted email communication, and video conferencing. Assistance and forms are available in both English and Spanish.
While this online platform is new, clients can continue to expect a high-quality experience with IRS-certified tax preparers, a double review process, and completed returns within seven to 10 days from document uploads, Gaudioso said.
Not only do United Way’s tax preparers ensure filers receive all eligible deductions and credits, they can also help residents file to receive overdue federal COVID-19 stimulus funds.
“Across our region, 30 percent of households couldn’t afford the basics even before the pandemic,” Gaudioso said. “Our free tax prep automatically saves these households the average $270 preparation fee charged by paid tax preparers. And we all know every dollar counts right now.”
The free service is geared for the individuals and families United Way calls ALICE and those in poverty. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents households living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford life’s necessities. The United Way’s most recent ALICE report for New Jersey, released in December 2020, revealed that ALICE households rose by 41 percent between 2007 and 2018.
For more information about United Way’s free, quality tax preparation program, documents needed, and information about common tax credits, visit: uwnnj.org/freetaxprep.