United Way 2-1-1 is partnering with local tax coalitions to provide free tax preparation services to St. Louis-area families with a household income of $54,000 or less in 2016. Last year, the partnership helped more than 20,000 people in our region receive nearly $21 million in tax refunds.
“Through free tax preparation services, we hope to again help many working families this year receive all of the tax credits they qualify for,” said Debbie Irwin, community economic development director, United Way of Greater St. Louis. “The partnership between United Way 2-1-1 and these tax coalitions is a great asset to local families and the St. Louis region, as the money saved through the free tax preparation assistance as well as refunds received through tax credits represents additional investments into our region through things like basic needs, transportation, housing and education.”
United Way’s tax coalition partners include Friendly Community Tax Coalition,Gateway EITC Community Coalition, National Association of Black Accountants, and St. Louis Tax Assistance Program. In 2016, 765 volunteers worked through the coalitions to provide services for the region, helping local low-income households save approximately $5 million in tax preparation services.
The coalitions also focus on bringing awareness to local individuals and families who qualify to receive a refund through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit designed to help people increase their financial stability. The average national EITC refund in 2016 was more than $2,455. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in 2015, over 26 million families and individuals nationwide received a federal EITC refund, which helped lift approximately 6.5 million people out of the poverty threshold.
Anyone interested in receiving tax preparation help and who is eligible under the $54,000 household income threshold may contact United Way at 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626, or visit 211helps.org for information on qualifications, locations, dates and a list of documents required for services. Sites operate on an appointment or walk-in basis.