Sacramento region claims more than $5 million during the 2016 tax season through free tax assistance programs
Nearly 5,000 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way-led free tax programs for the 2015 tax year, resulting in more than $5 million in money claimed and saved through the Earned Income Tax Credit, other credits and refunds, and lack of tax preparation fees. The in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, led by United Way California Capital Region in this area, helped 3,710 local households, and United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com helped 983 users file taxes with an average refund of $1,433.
One of the first steps to becoming financially stable is avoiding spending unnecessary money and taking advantage of benefits available. Our tax programs gave people the chance to avoid tax prep fees and apply for credits.
Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2015 were eligible to receive free tax help in person through the local VITA coalition led by United Way. IRS-certified volunteers provided free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers informed taxpayers about special tax credits for which they might qualify, such as the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
A big thank you to SAFE Credit Union for encouraging and helping people save part or all of their refund in their own savings account by offering 150, $10 gift cards. The 150 filers who qualified for the SAFE gift card promotion collectively saved $186,307 – an average of $1,242 per saver!
Local households that made $62,000 or less in 2015 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 $6,000, available federally and through the state. This is the first year that California offered a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families.
A big thank you to our funders and partners and more than 172 volunteers who served more than 6,916 hours. For the list of funders and partners click here.