Shoes, medicine, clothes, car repairs, a new coat, toys for a child’s birthday, books, music, furniture, replace a broken phone, a washing machine, a new television, pay a few more bills, put aside a little more, bring home some fresh vegetables instead of the frozen ones, a new suit for that job interview, a few flowers for the table.
Saying yes instead of no.
That’s what a better tax return can mean for a low-income New Jersey resident.
And on Friday, when agencies kick off the effort to help those residents get their fair share, when they celebrate the kick off of the Earned Income Tax Credit drive, thousands of residents can get the chance to apply for that credit.
This is one of the good ideas.
And here’s another one:
The EITC kick-off is followed by the effort to help residents file their taxes and maximize their returns.
Here’s the United Way press release:
The United Way of Northern New Jersey is partnering with the IRS, AARP, and NORWESCAP to provide low- and moderate-income residents with free tax preparation from IRS-certified volunteers. These free tax sites will be open in Morris, North Essex, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties from February 1 through April 15.
Area residents can start making appointments now by dialing 2-1-1 to find a nearby location. Day, evening, and weekend hours are available by appointment only at locations throughout all five counties. Residents in North Essex, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties can have their tax returns done at the local United Way office:
• 60 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair
• 1011 U.S. Route 22 West in Bridgewater
• 2 Spring Street in Newton
• 37 Belvidere Avenue in Washington
In addition this year, United Way is also partnering with MyFreeTaxes to provide community members with a free online service to do their taxes from their personal computer. Families and individuals with a combined income under $57,000 in 2012 are qualified to use this new website. To learn more, visit http://www.MyFreeTaxes.com/UnitedWayofNorthernNewJersey.
These free services are available only to families and individuals with a simple return (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, Schedules A & B). The services are not applicable to businesses, stockholders, or landlords.
“Our residents start off by saving at least $200 just by taking advantage of the free service and could save thousands more on specialized tax credits they may qualify for and never knew about,” said United Way of Northern New Jersey CEO John Franklin. “We know that every dollar counts for our residents who are struggling to keep up with this region’s high cost of living.”
Through this United Way partnership last year, hundreds of community volunteers prepared more than 8,500 free tax returns, saving area residents nearly $4 million in tax credits and tax preparation costs.
Each year, the United Way Income Tax Assistance Program seeks to provide free tax return services and education about specialized tax credits available to area residents, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Education Tax Credit. These credits are designed to provide relief to low- and moderate-income households.
Families and individuals could qualify for tax credits of $5,000 or more. These much-needed extra funds can be the first step on the road to financial stability, creating savings for emergencies or serving as a down payment on a home.
According to the IRS, more than nine out of 10 refunds were issued to taxpayers in less than 21 days last year. The same results are expected in 2013.
To make an appointment at a tax site near you, dial 2-1-1. To learn more about the United Way Income Tax Assistance Program, visit http://www.UnitedWayNNJ.org/FreeTaxPrep.