United Way’s Free Tax Prep program offers low-income individuals assistance with filing

United Way of Southwestern PA is offering free, in-person tax preparation at 27 sites across the region to eligible individuals and families.

“This campaign helps prevent low-income working people in our community from falling behind,” says Kiandra Foster, program manager United for Families of the United Way. “The earned tax credits and refunds these individuals secure help families meet basic needs, such as putting dinner on the table or paying a utility bill or rent. This year, 446 volunteers have joined the effort and have become IRS-certified and trained to solve the tax problems, and potentially find resources to help with other problems, faced by people in our community.”

Last year across the region, volunteers helped to prepare more than 10,000 tax returns, saving taxpayers over $1.7 million in tax preparation fees. They also helped many working families obtain the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax, or even get a tax refund of $500 to nearly $6,300.

While improving access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax benefits, United Way also works to connect households to other local resources for which they are eligible. When scheduling an appointment, households can get connected to valuable services that assist with childcare, transportation, emergency food, utility payments, healthcare enrollment, elderly care, and more.

Households with a total annual income up to $54,000 may qualify for free in-person tax preparation; free online tax assistance is available for individuals and families with a total annual income up to $66,000.

Appointments for free tax preparation can be made now by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting pa211sw.org.