Unless you’re a tax whiz, tax preparation can be time consuming and costly. Fortunately, United Way’s MyFreeTaxes makes it free and easy to file online yourself, regardless of your income. In many cases, the result is a bigger refund.
“MyFreeTaxes creates a win-win for working families by eliminating tax prep fees and ensuring maximum refund amounts,” said Megan Thibos, Director of Economic Mobility initiatives at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “With these savings, families can pay off debt, build a financial safety net or simply have more money to put toward basic needs like food and utilities.”
The program is made available thanks to a partnership with United Way Worldwide. MyFreeTaxes is available free to individuals of any income. It uses the same tax filing software that professionals use, in an easy, question-and-answer format. You can use MyFreeTaxes to e-file your state, federal, and local returns for free online, at your convenience.
At United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we work to help households become stable. Part of that effort includes helping people boost their family finances and keep more of what they earn. Increased refunds can help families start a savings account, pay bills or make important purchases.
“We found that a lot of people fail to claim the credits they’re entitled to simply because taxes are complicated, or because they don’t know that they qualify,” Megan said. “We focus on simplifying the process so that families in our region can get more money back in refunds.”
“When we unite with other organizations toward common goals, we’re able to make a major difference in local communities,” Megan said.
We’re also making sure that families that qualify file for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits. This gives working individuals with low to moderate incomes more money in their pockets at tax time. Families with and without children are all eligible for the credit, though the amount depends on income and family situation. Last year, nearly 90,000 Detroiters claimed a total of nearly $310 million in EITC. Additional tax credits, such as the child tax credit, can boost families’ refunds even more.
In 2021, a new COVID-relief measure called the EITC ook-back allows tax filers to choose whether to use their 2020 or 2019 income to calculate their EITC credit – which means workers can still benefit from the EITC even if they were out of work in 2020.
“Like everything during the pandemic, the 2021 tax season will be a bit different, but thankfully we have the tools we need for families to be able to claim their EITC without having to attend an in-person tax preparation appointment.” Megan said. “We know the tremendous positive impact that is made when families are able to add a bit more money to their budgets.”