Free Tax Preparation Program

Many hardworking people in our region qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits, but aren’t getting the full refund they deserve. United Way is committed to improving financial stability for individuals and families, so each year we offer Free Tax Prep to help families save approximately $250 in tax prep fees, get the credits they deserve and help them keep more of their money.

Connect with us by:

  • Accessing Free Tax Prep Services
  • Volunteer with Free Tax Prep
  • Be a Free Tax Prep partner

accessing free tax prep services

About Free Tax Prep Services 

Free Tax Prep, an initiative of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, provides free income tax preparation and filing services. Funded by the IRS and powered by volunteers.

We offer services including preparing and filing your taxes on your behalf or supporting you in preparing and filing your taxes on your own. You can connect with Free Tax Prep online or in person. All in-person services have been modified to limit contact and ensure safe distancing.

To determine the best Free Tax Prep Service for you, complete this short survey or call 2-1-1 for assistance.

Free Tax Prep Services

Free Tax Prep Services are offered across the Greater Cincinnati region. For the most up-to-date list of sites, click here. 

All Free Tax Prep services require the following documents and information: photo identification for primary filers, social security card(s) and date of birth for all members of the household, all tax forms related to your income (W-2s, 1099s, etc.), healthcare forms, expense documentation (childcare expenses & provider’s tax ID, 1098-T/ school tuition statement, self-employment expenses, etc.), bank information and a copy of the previous year’s taxes. Review the Tax Prep Checklist below for a complete list of documents.  

In-Person Free Tax Prep Services

  • Same Day Service: Drop off your tax documents, complete an intake form in-person and wait while the return is prepared, usually within one hour.
  • Drop Off Service: Drop off your tax documents and complete an intake form in-person, then we prepare the tax return online. Schedule time to pick up your finished tax return one week later.

Please review the Tax Prep Checklist to make sure you have everything you need for us to prep and file your taxes. To find a complete list of sites that take online appointments, click here.

Online Free Tax Prep Services

  • Online Drop Off Service: Provide your tax documents and complete the intake form through a secure online portal. Your return is prepared electronically for you. You’ll receive a final copy electronically within 5-10 business days.
  • File On Your Own: Prepare your taxes on your own using our online Free Tax Prep software.
  • File with the Support of a Free Tax Prep Coach: Schedule a private, virtual appointment with a Free Tax Prep Coach who will answer questions while you prepare your taxes using our online Free Tax Prep software.

To connect with us online, you’ll need access to a computer or tablet with the internet. If you have paper documents, you will also need access to a scanner or a camera phone. If you don’t have a computer at home, consider visit a local library or a Free Tax Prep community station.

Please review the Tax Prep Checklist to make sure you have everything you need to file your taxes.  

To find a complete list of Free Tax Prep community stations, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I qualify for Free Tax Prep?
    You can usually get help if you identify as low to moderate income and live in the Greater Cincinnati area. In limited cases, income restrictions may apply based on total income and family size. 
  • How Do I find a Free Tax Prep service near me?
    Complete the following short survey to help connect to the Free Tax Prep Service that’s right for you!  We provide in-person services across the community and online.
  • What do I Need to File my Taxes? 
    Use the list below to gather all the documents and forms you’ll need to get started with Free Tax Prep. Any item with a star (*) is mandatory; without it, you will be unable to access Free Tax Prep. All other items are highly recommended.

    REQUIRED Personal Information (You/ Spouse/ Dependents)

    • Photo identification for primary individual(s) filing the return (you/ spouse)*
    • Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number cards for everyone listed on the return (you, spouse, and dependents or children).*
    • Birth dates of everyone listed on the return (you, spouse, and dependents or children).*
    • Last Year’s Tax Return.
    • Information about your stimulus payment — also known as an economic impact payment (EIP). You may have IRS Notice 1444 or other records showing your EIP amount.
    • Canceled check or bank-routing and account numbers for direct deposit, if you choose.
    • If applicable: Identity Protection PIN, if one has been issued to you, your spouse, or your dependent by the IRS.
    • Income Information: All W-2, 1099 forms and other information for income received in 2020 by you, spouse, and dependent(s).This can include:
  • Wages - Form W-2
  • Interest - Form 1099-INT
  • Dividends - Form 1099-DIV
  • Sale of Stock - Form 1099-B
  • Retirement Plan - Form 1099-R
  • Gambling Winnings - Form W-2G
  • Unemployment - Form 1099-G
  • Social Security Benefits - Form SSA
  • Miscellaneous income - Form 1099-MISC
  • Statements showing income from other sources, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans benefits, workers’ compensation, alimony, etc. 

If applicable, also bring:

  • Health Care Coverage Forms (Forms 1095-A, B, or C)
  • Health Care Savings Account (Form 8889)
  • School Tuition Expenses you paid to attend a university, college, or technical college (Form 1098-T)
  • Interest Statements for Student Loans (Form 1098-E)
  • IRA contributions
  • Daycare expenses. For each provider you paid, you must provide the name, address, amount paid, and Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Records of any deductions/ credits, such as the following:
    • Itemized expenses you may wish to deduct if the total is greater than standard deduction. This includes: Out-of-pocket medical expenses; Charitable donations; Vehicle license tabs; Property taxes paid; Mortgage interest paid (Form 1098); Tax preparation fees; Uniform costs, etc.
    • Receipts for education expenses you paid for your children in grades K-12. This includes: Educational software; Private school tuition; Tutoring; Academic books/materials; Music lessons and music equipment purchases or rentals; Tuition for academic summer camp; Instructor fees for drivers education; School supplies (pencils, notebooks, etc.)
    • Business expenses up to $25,000 (If your business has a loss, we cannot prepare your return)

    How to GIVE help

    • Build financial stability for families by helping them prepare and file their taxes virtually or at one of our Free Tax Prep sites. Volunteers will receive training to complete returns using tax software. Learn more.

    Questions? E-mail us at freetax@uwgc.org