United Way NCA and Mayor Bowser Kick Off EITC Awareness Day

Jan 27, 2022

Tax Season Kicks off on Jan. 28, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day; Eligible Residents Can Get a Tax Refund Up to $6,700

Washington, DC (Jan. 27, 2022)—United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) and Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), are kicking off the tax season with “EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) Awareness Day,” on January 28. DMV residents are encouraged to #GetItBackInTheDMV by accessing free and virtual tax preparation services that are available for those with an annual income of $56,000 or less. The services are available through United Way NCA’s network of Financial Empowerment Centers, including a new Montgomery County location managed by CAFE (Coalition for the Advancement of Financial Education) Montgomery—opening soon but available virtually—as well as several partner IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program sites throughout the Metro area.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on unemployment, loss of income and business closures, the need for free tax services is needed more than ever. Additionally, more individuals will qualify for and need help navigating their EITC.

“Each tax season, your United Way of the National Capital Area invests in IRS-trained professionals to help residents determine EITC as well as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) eligibility and receive free tax preparation services,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, President & CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area. “Our goal is to support the path to financial equity through our network of FECs that offer free services to help our neighbors claim these credits. Last year, EITC qualifying residents in the DMV received an average tax refund of $2,300 that they were able to use to pay off debt or contribute to generational wealth that can transform the future of their families.”

“Part of giving more Washingtonians a fair shot is making sure they know about programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Mayor Bowser. “Now we need to spread the word that through this collaboration with the United Way NCA and other supporting partners, residents can work with trained IRS professionals and volunteers—for free—to get a credit potentially worth thousands of dollars.”

United Way NCA, DISB, the IRS and its partners are leading a regional coalition of partners working on free tax preparation services. Trained and qualified IRS tax professionals are available to work with individuals in the community to determine if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and help them claim these tax credits, which can earn them a larger tax refund. The EITC program is funded in part by Citi Community Development.

“The sooner taxes are submitted, the sooner qualified residents will receive their tax refunds,” said DISB Commissioner Karima M. Woods. “We also encourage unbanked residents to use this opportunity to access one of the many affordable banking options and avoid unnecessary fees associated with check cashing services. Every dollar earned should ‘#GetItBackInTheDMV’, and by that, we mean in the pockets of our residents.”

The EITC is one of the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty programs. Over 20 million low to moderate income Americans benefit from the EITC during tax season every year. The EITC is a refundable tax credit available to qualifying lower-wage workers and their families. Workers earning less than about $56,000 from wages, self-employment, or farming in 2020 could qualify.

The EITC program is funded in part by Citi. “The Earned Income Tax Credit is a valuable resource that has the potential to improve financial stability for eligible workers,” said Reginald Exum, Vice President, Citi Community Investing & Development. “Tax time can play a vital role in helping financially vulnerable Washington area residents withstand financial shocks, pay down debts and build up savings. Currently, four out of five eligible workers claim and get their EITC – we want to raise that number to five out of five.”

Tax preparation services are available virtually or in-person (following COVID-19 safety protocols). Here’s what residents need to know for when they receive help from a United Way NCA Financial Empowerment Center or one of its partner VITA sites located throughout the region for tax preparation services:

  • Services are provided free for tax filers with a household income of less than $56,000.
  • To have their taxes prepared, residents should have available proof of earned income, a valid social security number and photo ID.
  • Many people will qualify for EITC for the first time this year due to changes in their income, their marital status, or parental status, according to the IRS. The IRS estimates that four out of five eligible workers currently claim their EITC.
  • The Child Tax Credit is available to workers who earn more than $2,500 in 2020. A qualifying child for the CTC must be under the age of 17.

All United Way NCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers (FEC) with the exception of the DC office, as well as IRS VITA sites located throughout Maryland and Virginia will be offering free tax services until the week of April 15, 2021 (please check each location for specific cut-off dates). A full list of locations is located at unitedwaynca.org/vita.

For more information on United Way NCA’s economic opportunity services, please visit unitedwaynca.org/economic-opportunity.

About United Way of the National Capital Area

United Way of the National Capital Area fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in the National Capital community. United Way NCA has been improving lives by creating measurable impact in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties for more than 45 years. In 2020, United Way NCA was among 384 organizations across the United States to receive a generous transformational investment from novelist and venture philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit UnitedWayNCA.org.

About DISB

DISB’s mission is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents; and (3) support the development and expansion of business. For more information about DISB’s services visit disb.dc.gov.