National pilot programenables UWGN to continue offeringfreetax-filingservices, helping moderate to low-income families access tax credits and Economic Impact Payments during pandemic
(Newark, NJ) June 1, 2020 – Today, Catherine Wilson, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Newark (UWGN) announced the organization has partnered with Code for America to offer digital Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), an IRS-sponsored program that provides free certified tax preparation assistance and legal aid to low- and moderate- income families. This partnership, part of Code for America’s national pilot program called GetYourRefund, will enable UWGN to provide free tax-filing services digitally for New Jersey residents for the first time.
Over the last three years, UWGN has collaborated with the Newark Asset Building Coalition (NABC) organizations, a coalition focused on promoting financial independence and stability to local residents, to provide VITA services in community sites across Newark. When VITA sites were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, these services were paused. This new partnership with Code for America and participation in the pilot program enables UWGN to continue offering these critical services in a safe and effective way so that low- and moderate-income families can access earned income tax credits. Individuals who are interested in using these services can complete and securely upload their tax documents. Then, applicants will be connected with a VITA team who will remotely prepare, review, and file tax returns with the taxpayers’ consent.
“We are thrilled to partner with Code for America to offer free tax-filing services to our hardworking residents,” said Wilson. “This service is critical, saving residents hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees and allowing them to use that money in other important ways – including catching up on bills or buying food they might not otherwise have the funds for right now. During these difficult times, we are proud to be able to offer these services and are grateful to our partners and funders who are making this all possible.”
Program and marketing support has been made possible by the Citi Foundation and Prudential Financial.
“This tax season, thousands of Newark households are facing significant effects to their income as a result of COVID-19,” said Gregory Schiefelbein, NY Tri-State Market Director, Citi Community Investing and Development. “Through the Citi Foundation’s commitment to support free, digital tax preparation services, the Foundation aims to enable lower-income residents of Essex County to access tax credits and stimulus funds that provide a much-needed financial cushion and help bolster household financial resilience.”
“Prudential’s partnership with the United Way is steeped in our alignment and desire to bring financial wellness to all, especially in our hometown of Newark,” said Shané Harris Vice-President Corporate Social Responsibility, Prudential Financial and President of the Prudential Foundation. “Through innovative solutions like virtual free tax prep, we can help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic achieve financial security and build savings for the future.”
For more information about the GetYourRefund program or to use these services, visit:
About United Way of Greater Newark
United Way of Greater Newark’s (UWGN) mission is to disrupt the cycle of poverty by convening, collaborating and investing in strategies to improve outcomes for children and families. UWGN has a long history of convening disaster funds in the community, including having established the 9/11 fund, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and, most recently, the Newark Water Fund. In order to continue providing support to the community and its non-profit partners during the COVID-19 crisis, UWGN has established the Community COVID-19 Fund. This is a regional fund serving its 13-municipality footprint including Newark, Irvington, East Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Orange, Belleville, Nutley, Maplewood, Kearny, Harrison, East Newark and North Arlington.
For more information about United Way of Greater Newark, please visit UWGreaterNewark.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UWGreaterNewark and #LiveUnited.