Tax season can be stressful for just about all of us – but United Way of Greater Cincinnati is here to help. We’re especially dedicated to helping families move out of poverty and we know tax filing can be a critical step toward their opportunity to thrive. In 2017, United Way and its 500 volunteers helped more than 17,000 local families receive over $20 million in tax refunds.
United Way, community partners and skilled volunteers provide free tax preparation services to hard working individuals and families in our region. This includes in-person opportunities through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), and online tax filing through MyFreeTaxes, a tax software sponsored by United Way and powered by H&R Block.
MyFreeTaxes.com is the only national online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit. It is easy, safe, secure, and free for anyone with household income under $66,000.
This year, United Way is also using MyFreeTaxes as a tool for companies seeking to improve the financial wellbeing of their qualifying workforce. United Way’s corporate partners, funded agencies and members of the Child Poverty Collaborative Employer Roundtable can offer MyFreeTaxes to help employees file taxes easily and for free.
Nearly 20 employers in Greater Cincinnati have partnered with United Way and MyFreeTaxes during this launch. Maureen Maxfield, a MyFreeTaxes consultant for United Way, helps partner agencies and companies promote MyFreeTaxes as an employee benefit.
“I am inspired by the commitment of executive and human resources leadership I’ve met with and their focus on the ‘whole employee,’ supporting their employees’ financial stability in ways that fit their corporate culture,” said Maxfield. “These leaders recognize tools such as MyFreeTaxes are a benefit to employees and can support employee retention.”
Miami Valley Gaming, for example, combined MyFreeTaxes with a financial coaching program offered through United Way agency partner LifeSpan. The company invited a MyFreeTaxes tax coach to talk to employees in the break room, posted large MyFreeTaxes posters in their employee hallway, and offered a quiet computer room that staff can use to do their taxes.
“I talked to a couple employees at Miami Valley Gaming who were excited after using MyFreeTaxes rather than going to a paid tax preparer,” said Maxfield. “Initially nervous, they were surprised it was so easy, user-friendly, and timely. They were easily able to upload pictures of their W2. They encouraged family members and co-workers to do their own taxes with MyFreeTaxes.”
Maxfield says another United Way partner, Thrive Impact Sourcing, asked her to give a presentation at an all-staff meeting on how to use MyFreeTaxes, how to wisely use a refund, and tips for saving and debt reduction.
United Way’s free tax preparation programs may help you or someone you know. For more information and to see if you qualify, go to www.uwgc.org/tax-help.