January 7, 2020
Public encouraged to take advantage of in-person, online free filing services
NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) – in partnership with Entergy Corporation, Louisiana 211, and the Asset Building Coalition – is promoting its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites and providing information on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other refundable tax credits that stand to benefit many hardworking taxpayers throughout Southeast Louisiana.
The VITA Program offers free person-to-person tax preparation and e-filing to low- to moderate-income taxpayers including persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers.
IRS-certified volunteers provide free income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals who generally make $56,000 or less. The volunteers are expertly-trained tax preparers with knowledge of the current tax laws and can find every credit and deduction possible to help families and individuals get the largest refunds possible without visiting expensive and less-accurate paid preparers.
The EITC, recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools, is a benefit for working people, with and without children, who meet the required income levels. In 2019 alone, 25 million workers received more than $61 billion in EITC refunds, with the average credit amount totaling $2,927 in Louisiana.
Anyone who worked last year and had an income of less than $55,952 should check their EITC eligibility. EITC can mean up to a $6,557 refund when filing a return with qualifying children. Workers without a qualifying child could be eligible for a smaller credit up to $529.
Additional tax credits include the Child Tax Credit (CTC), the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the Credit for Other Dependents (ODC) and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).
"Our VITA sites help you get the maximum refund you’re due. Our goal is to help you get your hard-earned dollars back in your pockets where you need it most. This is money you can save or use to pay off bills, buy that car to get to work or make a down payment on a home, “said Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO.
Free tax preparation assistance will be provided through April 15 at over 30 VITA sites located across Southeast Louisiana. Residents can locate the sites online at UnitedWaySELA.org/VITA or by calling 211.
VITA sites are generally open nights and weekends with flexible hours that include appointments and walk-ins. Appointments are encouraged and required at some locations.
The public can also take advantage of MyFreeTaxes.com, which provides free online federal and state tax preparation for individuals or families with a combined household income of $66,000 or less. MyFreeTaxes is the only free, national, online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit. United Way has made it available to over 100 million U.S. taxpayers as part of our fight for the financial stability of every person in every community.
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.