Free Tax Services Save North Texans Millions Every Year
Preparing and filing a tax return can be time consuming, confusing and expensive. At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we offer free tax prep services to simplify the process and ensure that all North Texans have access to the resources needed to file a thorough, accurate return and get any refunds they are entitled to.
Offering free tax preparation is just one of the ways United Way of Metropolitan Dallas creates opportunity and access for each of our neighbors to achieve a firm financial foundation. By ensuring that our neighbors save money when filing their taxes and receive all eligible credits and refunds, our programs help support financial stability throughout our community. In turn, financial stability supports our other focus areas—education and health—helping to ensure that generations of North Texans have access to the resources they need to thrive.
Read on to learn more about our free tax prep services, the impact of these important initiatives and how you can support programs that encourage financial stability in our community.
United Way Offers Free Tax Prep
For more than 10 years, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has provided North Texans with access to free income tax assistance so that working families can receive all their eligible tax credits and refunds. This type of support is especially important as tax law changes at least somewhat every year, as we saw with the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit over the last few years.
We partner with community organizations that leverage tax experts to offer online, in-person, drive-through or drop-off tax prep assistance, as well as self-directed online tax prep tools. These services are especially beneficial for low- and moderate-income North Texans who otherwise may not be able to get professional help with their taxes and, as a result, may miss out on credits and refunds or be subject to penalties for filing late or providing inaccurate or incomplete information.
It’s all too common for people to not claim their full tax refund. As of April 2022, taxpayers hadn’t claimed more than $1.5 billion owed to them in refunds—and that was just for the 2018 tax year. That figure is proof that tax time is stressful and confusing for everyone.
How Free Tax Services Benefit North Texans
Each year, North Texans utilize free tax prep services to file thousands of returns. With the help of volunteer tax experts, the average filer gets a refund of almost $2,000. As a result, the IRS distributes millions of dollars in refunds back into our community every year.
During our 2021 to 2022 fiscal year, North Texans filed a total of 6,042 through these programs, resulting in $11.7 million in refunds for our community alone. These initiatives engaged 129 volunteers, each of whom is an IRS-certified tax preparer.
Clients see significant cost savings by using these services. Individuals save an average of $200 in tax preparation and filing fees, plus get an average refund of $2,400 by claiming all their eligible tax credits and refunds.
“By ensuring that our neighbors get the refunds that they are entitled to, Free Tax Prep programs bring millions of dollars back to our region every year,” said Greg Mangum, vice president of economic mobility at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “This adds to the financial stability of individuals, families and our community as a whole.”
Considerations for Your 2022 Taxes
There are several important changes to the tax law for 2022. Most notably, several of the tax credits that provided financial relief to families during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have returned to 2019 levels, which means many taxpayers will receive a smaller refund compared to their 2021 return.
Changes include amounts for the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child and Dependent Care Credit:
- Those who got $3,600 per dependent in 2021 for the CTC will, if eligible, get $2,000 for the 2022 tax year.
- For the EITC, eligible taxpayers with no children who received roughly $1,500 in 2021 will now get $500 in 2022.
- The Child and Dependent Care Credit returns to a maximum of $2,100 in 2022 instead of $8,000 in 2021.
Visit the IRS guide to Credits and Deductions for more information on changes for the 2022 tax year.
Sign Up for Free Tax Services
Tax season is already in full swing, and this year your tax return is due Tuesday, April 18. To get started with one of our free tax services, explore your options below:
- In-person, drive-through or drop-off tax prep assistance: Households that earned $60,000 or less in the last tax year are eligible for services including current and previous year tax returns, non-resident returns and ITIN renewals. For site locations and hours of operation, you can text TAXCENTERS to 833-939-1387 or visit www.DallasTaxCenters.org. Services are available in English and Spanish.
- Online tax prep help: Households at any income level can access fully online, self-directed tax prep services that are not subject to fees or paid add-ons. Visit www.MyFreeTaxes.com. Services are available in English and Spanish.
- Self-directed online tax prep: Our partner Let’s Get Set provides families making less than $70,000 with tools to estimate their refund, files taxes and get tailored support via text. Filing services are free for families in the Dallas area that select “United Way of Metropolitan Dallas” on the platform when asked “How did you hear about us.” To get started, go to app.letsgetset.co/sign-up.
Learn more about these services, including what you’ll need to bring with you, on our Free Tax Prep resources page.
Support Financial Stability in North Texas
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we believe every North Texan should have the opportunity and access to achieve financial stability. We invite you to be part of the change by joining our movement to ensure North Texans can get and keep better jobs, establish savings and hold on to more of what they earn.
Ready to start making a difference right here at home? Here are three ways to join the Live United movement and help improve financial stability in our community:
- Donate to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to invest in our income-related programs.
- Sign up for Advocacy Alerts. Throughout this year’s legislative session, we’ll let you know when and how to contact your elected representatives to advocate for policies related to financial stability.
- Volunteer with us at one of our monthly events.
Looking for Additional Resources?
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas offers a variety of programs and resources to ensure our neighbors have a foundation for financial stability. For more information, click below to access our resources.