NEWARK, NJ — A report released by the Newark Asset Building Coalition and United Way of Greater Newark highlights the critical role tax assistance plays in low-income communities, particularly as COVID-19 ravages the national and local economies.
The report was compiled with information gathered from the Newark Free Tax Prep Program, which works with the IRS and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to increase the number of residents who receive free income tax assistance and other tax credits.
“Free tax-filing services are always critically important. However, this year, at a time when the economic impact of the shutdown has been enormous, it was even more important for us to continue providing these services to our hardworking residents,” said Catherine Wilson, President & CEO of UWGN.
In 2019, residents served by NABC received tax returns of more than $12 million, with $4.5 million coming from the Earned Income Tax Credit, according to the report. The Earned Income Tax Credit is considered the largest anti-poverty program in the nation and proved indispensable in Newark.
The report also found that most residents who used NABC’s tax filing program made $25,000 or less annually. Most used the credits they received to pay down debt and cover bills, rent and other expenses.
“The data contained in this Report is vital for understanding the impact of the Newark Free Tax Preparation program – who is being served and who still needs help,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director at New Jersey Citizen Action, a program partner. “We are proud to be part of the NABC. The money that families save by having their taxes prepared through this program can be a literal lifesaver during a pandemic that disproportionately affects low-income individuals and communities of color.”
For the 2020 tax year, the NABC is prepared to provide entirely contactless tax preparation through the online platform, Get Your Refund, as well as through five in-person drop-off locations around greater Newark. For more information about Newark Free Tax Prep services, visit UWNewark.org.