Safe, secure online portal saves low- and moderate-income families hundreds in tax prep fees
Starting today, area residents can once again access free tax preparation services through a safe and secure online portal designed by United Way of Northern New Jersey. Created at the onset of the pandemic, the easy-to-use portal allows for a contactless experience, keeping clients and preparers safe.
The online system also 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.
“Last year, 5,600 struggling households in our region trusted us to successfully file their tax returns for free and ensure they received any tax credits or refunds they were due,” said United Way CEO Kiran Handa Gaudioso. “Not only did we help clients save $1.5 million in fees, we also brought $5.8 million in refunds back into the economy when it was most needed.”
By visiting https://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.
Clients using the online portal can also expect a high-quality experience with IRS tax law-certified 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 any outstanding federal stimulus funds.
“Even before the pandemic hit, we knew 30 percent of households across our region couldn’t afford the basics,” Gaudioso said. “Our free tax prep automatically saves these families the average $270 preparation fee charged by paid tax preparers. And as the pandemic continues and inflation soars, we know how critical it is for these families to save their hard-earned money.”
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:https://uwnnj.org/freetaxprep.