How do we love tax season? Let us count the ways

This year, we’ll help return $6 million to local families through free tax prep and earned income tax credits

What’s your favorite thing about tax season? If you said the refund, you’re in good company. That extra income is especially sweet for families who live paycheck to paycheck.

But many of these individuals – those who could most use some extra cash – are unaware of the deductions available to them, leaving serious money on the table. In Massachusetts, it is estimated that 1 in 5 workers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are unaware – leaving over $210 million unclaimed.

Why free tax prep?

Tax returns are real money that goes into our pockets, and often back into the economy, right away. And for a low-income family, the average $2,000 tax refund has a tremendous impact, paying down debt, increasing savings, or contributing to a down payment on a car or home.

That’s why United Way and our network of Financial Opportunity Centers invests a lot of time and resources to offer free tax preparation services. It’s also why United Way volunteers are giving their time to help individuals and families file their taxes and maximize their returns.

It’s why Bank of America continues to support our efforts to ensure that local families have the resources needed to claim their earned credits.

And it’s why Governor Baker enacted legislation last year to expand the program in Massachusetts by 50 percent, to help 400,000 additional working families.

By the numbers

This year alone, through our tax prep sites, we expect:

  • 4,079 returns filed
  • 1,350 EITC federal returns filed
  • $5.9 million in total tax refunds returned to local families
  • $2.2 million in EITC refunds

On top of that, it is estimated that the federal and Massachusetts EITC brought a combined $966 million to Massachusetts workers and their families in 2015 and generated over $1.3 billion in economic activity for the Commonwealth.

For the individuals who come through our financial opportunity centers for tax prep are getting so much more than a refund. They are also connected individuals to a wide range of job training, housing, financial education and budget coaching services to help provide greater economic opportunity.

Our financial opportunity partners

We are proud to work with these fantastic partners to help families in our community.