United Way Seeks Tax Prep Volunteers to Help Low-Income Residents Claim Funds Often Left Unclaimed
United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is seeking volunteers to assist with free tax preparation at eight sites in eastern Massachusetts. In 2011, more than 200 volunteers assisted 3,555 families with free tax preparation. As part of a larger effort to ensure more families claim the tax credits they have earned - credits they are often unaware even exist - in 2012 eight free tax preparation sites will serve residents of ten cities including Lawrence, Quincy, Lynn, Boston, Waltham, Chelsea, Revere, Randolph, Weymouth and Chelmsford. The free service will again receive funding through a generous gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, a United Way partner in bringing financial stability to the region.
"We are seeking hundreds of volunteers to help bring financial relief to our communities. The tax refund returned to hard-working families through earned income tax credit is money that can be used to pay bills, climb out of debt or save for the future," said Michael K. Durkin, president of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. "Last year, our partnership with Bank of America helped generate more than $5.9 million in refunds, including $2.1 million through EITC. We want to ensure that all qualifying, low-income working residents receive the funds to help bring financial stability to their families and the community."
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation will invest $100,000 to promote outreach to individuals and families eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This funding will ensure free tax filings are offered to low-income residents and raise public awareness about EITC. Last year, Bank of America employees volunteered nearly 600 hours of service to complement their financial support. In 2012, Bank of America employees will once again volunteer their services to the free tax preparation and filings.
"In 2011 Massachusetts residents filed for and received $717 million through EITC; however, according to the IRS between 15% and 25% of households that are entitled to this credit do not claim it. By partnering with the United Way and donating both financial and human capital, we hope to help more eligible individuals and families effectively navigate the tax system and secure the benefits they are entitled to," said Bob Gallery, Bank of America Massachusetts president. "Helping to bring financial health and stability to the communities in which we all live and work by putting money back in the pockets of the working families who need it most is a key priority for Bank of America."
Working people with earnings under $49,078 should see if they qualify at www.irs.gov/eitc. In 2012, free tax filing sites will be located in Lawrence, Quincy, Lynn, Boston, Waltham, Chelsea, Revere and Chelmsford. To find out more about the free tax filing service please visit www.mass211.org.