New Survey Finds Most Americans Unaware of Free Tax Filing Help & Tax Credits

Ada Regional United Way Encourages Community to Use Free Tax Help, File with MyFreeTaxes

ADA, OKLA.—  Ada Regional United Way encourages Americans earning $62,000 or less to keep more of their hard-earned money this tax season by using a free, online tax preparation service and accessing valuable tax credits. A new national survey finds 72 percent of working Americans making that amount or less are unaware they qualify for free tax filing and counseling.

The survey, conducted for United Way Worldwide, finds that most respondents are unfamiliar with MyFreeTaxes, a mobile-optimized software program allowing free federal and state tax preparation and filing in all 50 states and Washington, DC.  The self-file service is available for anyone earning $62,000 or less. On average, filers can save $200 in tax preparation fees by using the free platform.

“We recognize that affordable tax preparation services may be out of reach for many in our community,” said James Jackson, Executive Director of Ada Regional United Way. “In addition to the savings derived from using this service, taxpayers can reduce the amount of income tax they pay by claiming valuable credits. We know that tax refunds help many in our community achieve greater financial stability, and we want to help them keep more of what they earn”

Limited Awareness of Tax Credits

Many of the 1,000 adults surveyed were unaware that they were eligible for tax credits. Just four in ten adults reported awareness of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), while fewer than 60 percent said they are familiar with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Almost 20 percent were not aware of any tax credits they could access.

“This is our first year really promoting MyFreeTaxes,” James Jackson said, “Ada Regional United Way is focused on helping more families in our community become financially stable. Access to free tax filing and counseling, as well as tax credits they may not be aware of allows families to keep more of their tax refund than ever before.”

VITA sites are also provided by United Way in many communities across the United States. These sites provide free tax counseling and in person preparation.

Spending Refunds on Critical Needs

Tax refunds help working Americans put money in their pockets for everyday items and save for the future. About 23 percent of those asked say they spend their refunds for food, while 22 percent spend the money on housing costs; 31 percent use their refunds for utilities. A quarter of those who receive refunds put the money into savings or invest the funds for the future.

United Way Can Help With Tax Preparation

Filers can enter data into the secure MyFreeTaxes site anytime, from anywhere, making it easy to update the documents from home, at work or on mobile devices. The service also includes a helpline, 1-855-MY-TX-HELP, which operates through April 18 from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm CST Monday through Friday and 11:00 am to 8:00 pm CST Saturday; staff will continue to provide assistance on a more limited basis through October 15, based on demand. The website also provides a live chat function. To find a VITA site near you, visit www.adaunitedway.org/income or call 1-855-MY-TX-HELP.

Individuals earning more than $62,000 a year can still use the H&R Block software through the MyFreeTaxes site at a discounted rate.

MyFreeTaxes is provided by United Way, with the support of a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The tax filing software is provided by H&R Block and free tax support is available in English and Spanish by IRS-certified specialists. 

The national public opinion survey was conducted for United Way Worldwide November 18-23, 2015 using Lightspeed GMI online survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,000 American adults with income of $62,000 or below. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the U.S. adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1000 adults is +/-4 % with a confidence level of 95 percent.

 

About Ada Regional United Way

Founded in 1947, Ada Regional United Way’s mission is to improve lives by coordinating and promoting the caring power in the community. We are advancing the common good of all members of our community by focusing on creating long-lasting community change in the areas of education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality of life. Ada Regional United Way partners with non-profit organizations, local coalitions and community groups to help address the root causes to the issues in our community and recruiting people who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. To find out more about Ada Regional United Ways impact in your community visit www.adaunitedway.org. Follow us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/AdaRegionalUnitedway and on Twitter: @AdaRegUnitedWa

About United Way Worldwide

With 2.9 million volunteers and 10.3 million donors worldwide, and more than $5 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create community solutions that improve life for everyone. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited