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Citizens and United Way of Greater Newark Providing Free Tax Prep to Residents

With the 2024 tax season in full swing, United Way of Greater Newark (UWGN) invited residents to take advantage of free tax assistance through it’s highly successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program supported by Citizens $10,000 contribution and volunteer support.

“United Way of Greater Newark’s VITA program is an important community benefit that helps New Jersey residents maximize their tax returns,” said Rebecca O’Connell, Citizens’ region executive for NYC Metro, Long Island, and New Jersey. “One of the most important things we do at Citizens is help provide financial guidance and education which is why we’re proud to continue our financial and volunteer support this tax season to help give people the confidence and tools to navigate the process with ease and assurance.”

VITA is a free tax preparation service available to individuals and families with household incomes up to $64,000 annually. The volunteer-based initiative provides essential services for individuals to confidently file their taxes and feel financially empowered, also offering language assistance to better serve the ever-evolving diverse communities. Through the VITA program, taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers and filers are personally walked through any questions or concerns they are experiencing in filing their taxes.

“United Way of Greater Newark is proud to partner with Citizens to offer free tax assistance through our VITA program, with a particular focus on low to moderate-income families and individuals in our community who rely on these refunds to meet essential needs like housing, food, and childcare,” United Way of Greater Newark President & CEO Catherine Wilson said. “Together, we’re not just preparing taxes; we’re ensuring that every member of our community has the support and resources they need to thrive.”

Last year, more than $3.8 million was returned in federal tax refunds through the UWGN program and has saved filers over $1.3 million in tax preparation fees. Each year, VITA helps many claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable credit that is often overlooked by many taxpayers. Last year, VITA programming helped residents receive a total of $1.3 million of Earned Income Tax credits.

United Way of Greater Newark’s IRS-certified and trained VITA volunteers are ready to assist New Jersey residents, in-person, at more than seven locations throughout Newark and East Orange with services available in English and Spanish, and online at www.getyourrefund.org/UWGN.

How to access the program:

  1. Visit UWGN website (https://uwnewark.org/uw-events/vita-free-tax-assistance/) to see all VITA service locations
  2. Call your preferred site to make an appointment (If you need a service in a language other than English, please confirm that language is offered at your site when making an appointment).
  3. Bring as much of the following documentation and information as possible to your appointment:
    • All Forms W-2 and 1099
    • Information for other income Information for all deductions/credits
    • A copy of last year’s tax return
    • Proof of account for direct deposit of refund
    • Social Security cards or ITIN cards for you, your spouse, and/or dependents
    • Proof of identification for yourself and/or your spouse
    • Total paid to day care provider and their tax ID number
    • Birth dates for you, spouse and/or dependents on the return
    • Proof of foreign status if applying for ITIN Forms 1095-A, B or C (ACA Statements)
    • For prior year returns, copies of income transcripts from IRS (and state, if applicable)

The VITA program is a partnership with United Way of Greater Newark, Citizens, East Orange Senior Citizen Building, GetYourRefund online, Ironbound Community Corporation, New Community Corporation, South Ward Promise Neighborhood, and Urban League of Essex County.

Citizens colleagues donate their time and skills as IRS-certified tax preparers to help support residents navigate their taxes to maximize returns. Support for UWGN’s VITA program is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money program that provides financial education and resources to the communities it serves. In 2024, Citizens has committed $2.4 million to support 137 nonprofits’ financial empowerment programs.

 
 

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