|Contact:||Amie M. Downs, County|
PITTSBURGH – Today, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and United Way of Allegheny County announced the county’s 2012 free tax preparation campaign, stressing the importance of getting the information to all eligible low-income workers who can benefit from the service. In partnership with the Money In Your Pocket Coalition and the IRS, the campaign is designed to offer financial education services to help low-to-moderate income workers receive their full tax refund, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit was created to assist hard working people struggling to make ends meet, but it is estimated that only 75% of those eligible actually apply,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “United Way of Allegheny County’s Free Tax Preparation Campaign aims to educate local citizens about their taxes, and assist with filing, so that tax refunds are not left unclaimed. It is my hope to spread the word about the Money in Your Pocket Coalition so that every Allegheny County citizen in need is aware of this valuable program this tax season.”
“Last year alone, the Money In Your Pocket Coalition filed 6,114 tax returns, resulting in $9.7 million in tax refunds, and more importantly, $3.5 million in EITC funds,” said Bob Nelkin, United Way of Allegheny County President and Chief Professional Officer. “Our hope for 2012 is to build on, and exceed, our previous success so that every eligible citizen in Allegheny County has access to the free help they need in order to claim their valuable tax refund and tax credits, like EITC, that can put thousands of dollars into their pockets. That’s money that can be used for basic needs - to put food on the table, pay monthly utility bills, purchase gasoline or bus passes, make rent payments, or eliminate personal debt.”
Since the start of their partnership with the Money in Your Pocket Coalition and the IRS in 2009, United Way of Allegheny County has invested $305,500 in the Free Tax Preparation Campaign and 242 IRS-certified community volunteers have dedicated 11,440 hours to tax preparation services. The 14,756 tax returns prepared generated $23.7 million in tax refunds for Allegheny County residents, including $9.2 million in earned income tax credits. All this has meant an immeasurable positive financial difference in the lives of thousands of hard-working Pittsburghers and their families.
The Money in Your Pocket Coalition Partners have served a wide range of Allegheny County taxpayers. Of those served in 2011:
- The median income was $12,996 a year
- 99% said they would use the service again
- 63% were non-white
- 47% were eligible for the EITC
- 37% were single-parent households
- 32% were food stamp and/or TANF recipients
- 25% were homeowners
- 17% had no bank account
- 12% used a paid tax preparer in the previous year
- 11% had a disabled person in the household
- 9% had three or more jobs
- 5% spoke a language other than English
Families with incomes up to $40,000 and individuals with incomes up to $20,000 may qualify for the free tax preparation service. The Money in Your Pocket Coalition has 13 sites throughout Allegheny County where families can meet with an IRS-certified tax volunteer for free help preparing their taxes.
Individuals should call 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number that quickly and effectively connects people in need with resources, free tax prep and more.
For more information and a complete list of partner sites and locations, visit http://www.pghfreetaxes.org/partnersites.php.
United Way of Allegheny County is a change agent and efficient community fundraiser that improves lives by addressing critical community needs. By convening diverse partners and investing in programs and people to advance solutions, United Way creates long-lasting change and helps children and youth succeed, strengthens and supports families by promoting financial stability, ensures the safety and well-being of vulnerable seniors, and provides county-wide access to information and referral sources meeting basic needs.
Money in Your Pocket Coalition is an alliance of non-profit agencies committed to helping low-income workers and their families access the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Members of the Coalition include: Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Allegheny Valley Association of Churches, Community Human Services, Family Resources, Goodwill of Southwestern PA, Just Harvest, United Cerebral Palsy, YMCA Hazelwood, Internal Revenue Service, United Way of Allegheny County, and PA 2-1-1 Southwest.
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