Free Tax Preparation and Resource Fair

By Adam F. Thu, February 1, 2018

On Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Parkway Central Library welcomes back the United Way and the Campaign for Working Families for our second annual Free Tax Prep & Resource Fair. Community organizations will be available to connect tax filers to local, state, and national resources that help individuals and families to grow their financial assets. No cost tax preparation assistance will be available to all on a first-come, first-served basis.

Nearly a quarter million Philadelphians qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, but each year nearly 40,000 of us don't apply. The Department of Revenu for our city estimates the combined value of this unclaimed tax credit locally to be nearly $100 million dollars. For those who do apply for the credit, many are paying private tax preparers to collect on their behalf, which in effect turns a portion of the EITC into a subsidy for the tax preparation industry rather than as intended as a direct support to the working class. In many advanced democracies, tax preparation is as simple as mailing a postcard, but in the US the tax preparation industry lobbies to keep it complex.

To combat this complexity under current conditions, and to keep a larger portion of refunds in the pockets of Philadelphians, we encourage everyone to spread the word about the Campaign for Working Families' 2018 list of FREE Community Tax Sites (also available as a printable flier), where families and individuals can get their taxes prepared by professionals at no cost. The City of Philadelphia also maintains a map directory of free tax preparation sites for individuals who may qualify for the EITC.

For individuals and families who'd like to file their taxes on their own, there are several options to file Federal and State taxes for free or reduced cost:

For families earning under $95,000 or individuals under $65,000 per year
The Self-Serv Tool from Solutions for Progress's The Benefit Bank not only allows tax filers to file Federal and State taxes for free, but it also allows families to apply for educational assistance through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Benefit Bank also assists with filing the PA Property Tax/Rent Rebate.


For individuals making under $66,000
The United Way works with H&R Block to provide free Federal and State tax filing if users access the service from MyFreeTaxes: PA residents or NJ residents. Individuals and households above $66,000 can access below market filing via those sites.


For individuals making under $33,000 or qualifying for EITC
Turbo Tax has a program called TaxFreedom to provide free State and Federal tax filing to individuals making under $33,000 or to families making up to $53,505 if those families have three or more children.
 

If you go the route of doing your own taxes, don't miss our Tax Season Mix Tape to keep you company as you shuffle papers and crunch numbers.

Early birds get the return!
Early birds get the return!

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