Wednesday, January 22, 2020
United Way and partners to open free tax sites in February for low- and moderate-income families
Area residents can get their taxes prepared for free starting February 3 at free tax sites run by United Way of Northern New Jersey and its partners in Morris, Somerset, Suburban Essex, Sussex and Warren counties.
This free service is designed to help the 38 percent of New Jersey households who are living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford necessities. For local individuals and families who are ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty, the free tax preparation program allows them to receive the credits and refunds they’ve earned while saving the average $270 fee paid tax preparers charge.
“When you are working hard but still struggling to afford the basics, every dollar counts,” said United Way Senior Vice President Kiran Handa Gaudioso. “That’s why United Way is dedicated to working with our community partners and highly trained volunteers to help ALICE families get back every dollar they deserve and need.”
United Way has teamed up with NORWESCAP RSVP, Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Partners for Health Foundation and the IRS to offer day, night and weekend appointments in person with IRS-certified volunteers who prepare and file both state and federal returns for free.
To make an appointment at a free tax site in Morris, Somerset, Suburban Essex, Sussex and Warren counties, dial 973.993.1160, x521.
Households with simple returns—no schedule C, D or E—also have the option to file their taxes for free online using MyFreeTaxes.com.
Regardless if filers pay a preparer or use a free service, those receiving a state refund or certain federal tax credits will see a delay. New Jersey state income-tax refunds will not go out until at least March 2. For low-income families eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS expects refunds for returns claiming these federal credits to be released after February 22.
Clients using United Way’s free tax preparation program will have the opportunity to put more money into their wallets by accessing savings-related information and programs such as Savers Credit and SaveYourRefund. The Savers Credit can provide ALICE and poverty-level taxpayers who are saving for retirement with a special tax break. Clients who qualify can see their tax bills reduced. Through the SaveYourRefund program, clients saving at least $50 of their federal refund at the time of filing can enter for a chance to win $100 and one of two $10,000 grand prizes.
Last year, United Way and its partners made it possible for more than 6,000 households to file their taxes for free, refunding $6.6 million and saving residents $1.6 million in tax preparation costs.
These free services are available only to low- and moderate-income families and individuals, not to business owners or landlords.