NEWARK, NJ - An initiative that assists low-income Newark families and individuals to file taxes for free, has helped residents receive more on their tax returns and save millions in tax preparation fees.
The Newark Free Tax Prep program, an initiative between the Newark Asset Building Coalition (NABC), the City of Newark, Prudential Financial, and Citi Community Development, has been assisting Newark residents for 14 years.
IRS-certified tax preparers -- located in 12 sites throughout the city -- filed more than 9,2000 tax returns, an increase of nearly 800 tax returns from the previous year.
Here is a snapshot of what residents received in 2019:
Nearly $14 million in total tax refunds, $1 million from last tax year
Close to $5 million in earned income tax credits
$1.5 million saved in federal and state filing fees
"Refund-boosting tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits, can be pivotal in helping our residents pay bills, get out of debt and save for their future,” said United Way of Essex & West Hudson President & CEO Catherine P. Wilson.
NABC joins organizations to promote financial wellness and access to wealth building. The group has coordinated efforts to raise awareness of the free tax program.
Individuals that make less than $56,000 were encouraged to file and were able to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the most effective anti-poverty tools for families, yet the most underutilized.
“Working families in Newark deserve to receive every penny of their hard-earned refund and we are committing all of our available resources to help connect even more Newarkers with our professional free tax prep services,” said Wilson.
In addition to providing free tax preparation, the Newark Free Tax Prep sites screened over 400 individuals for benefits, referred nearly 300 for assistance with budgeting and credit repair, and offered matched savings programs.
Bank On, an initiative through the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, helped Individuals without a bank enroll to bank accounts and products.
At a time when families need every dollar to make ends meet, the Newark Free Tax Prep program put more money back into their pockets said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action.
“These refunds provide the opportunity for families to catch up on bills, provide for their families and save for emergencies or their future,” said Salowe-Kaye. “These hard-earned dollars are reinvested back into the City of Newark, a win-win situation for all.”