United Way offers free tax prep to low- and moderate-income households
Going against the norm for taxpayers, clients of United Way of Northern New Jersey’s free tax preparation services look forward to tax time. It’s a time of year when they receive some much-needed financial relief.
“When you reach my age and you retire, the income is very tight,” shared 74-year-old Somerset County resident Luisa, who has been using United Way’s free tax preparation services for more than a decade. “It’s helping me a lot. I’m grateful.”
By saving the average $270 fee paid tax preparers charge, Luisa can put that money toward her car insurance.
United Way and its partners — the IRS, Norwescap, and Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church — offer free tax preparation and filing services to households struggling to afford life’s basics. Local individuals and families who are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty can visit uwnnj.org/freetaxprep to use a safe and secure online portal to file both state and federal returns.
“This free program serves as a financial lifeline to ALICE and households in poverty,” said United Way CEO Kiran Handa Gaudioso. “Not only do we save clients hundreds in tax prep fees, our IRS tax law-certified preparers ensure clients receive all eligible deductions and tax credits and get back what they are owed.”
For Danielle, a Somerset County parent, receiving the Child Tax Credit helps boost her refund. The money offers relief from an already stretched budget.
“It helps me not struggle with bills,” she said. “It helps me put food on the table for my son.”
The online portal uses secure document uploads, encrypted email communication, and video conferencing. Assistance and forms are available in both English and Spanish.
In addition to accessing the easy-to-use online system, individuals and families who visit uwnnj.org/freetaxprep can also schedule a drop-off or in-person appointment or use self-filing software to file their taxes for free.
“Regardless of which option clients use, the result is the same: taxes are filed for free using a trustworthy service,” added Gaudioso.
Craig, a recent in-person client and Somerset County resident, agreed: “It’s easy, it’s free and it’s done. And the people are nice.”
To learn more about filing options or for questions about the online 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.