Sacramento region claims more than $10 million during the 2017 tax season through free tax prep programs

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Nearly 7,500 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way-led in-person free tax programs for the 2017 tax year, resulting in more than $10 million in money claimed through refunds and credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit. The free tax prep program, also known as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program,  helped 7,422 local households during the recent filing season. United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com helped another 1,066 users file taxes with an average refund of $1,185.

Key steps toward financial stability include avoiding spending unnecessary money and taking advantage of all benefits available. Our tax programs gave people the chance to avoid about $1.7 million in tax prep fees and to apply for all applicable credits.

Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2017 were eligible to receive free tax help in person through the local free tax prep coalition led by United Way. IRS-certified volunteers provided free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers informed taxpayers about the various tax credits for which they might qualify, such as the federal and California Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

A big thank you to Citi Community Development for their investment in our free tax prep programs. With their support, we were able to increase the number of tax filings in our area by over 53%.

Local households that made $66,000 or less in 2017 qualified to file their state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, thanks to a national partnership between United Way, Goodwill Industries and the National Disability Institute.

Both the in-person and online filing opportunities were designed to help households receive the maximum Earned Income Tax Credits of $6,500, available federally and through the state. This is the second year that California offered a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families.

A big thank you to our free tax prep funders (including Citi, SAFE Credit Union and SMUD) and our many community partners, and to the more than 430 volunteers who served more than 16,400 hours to make these results happen!