Free Tax Preparation Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program – VITA)
Nearly 1,100 taxpayers received free tax preparation in Mercer County.
Rising costs of food, housing, and essentials leave families struggling to make ends meet. The savings from tax preparation fees, tax credits, and refunds received are used for basic needs like food, housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation to their place of employment, and much more!
The Individuals and Families We Serve
• Average Gross Income (AGI) $26,276
• Average age of taxpayer 55
• Most have completed High School
• Most identify as African American, Hispanic and White Caucasian
• Most reside in East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Lawrenceville, and Trenton
Saves Hard-working Struggling Families Money
$422,400 in taxpayer fees saved through the free tax program (VITA) to help individuals and families keep more money in their pockets.
62 volunteers trained to become IRS-certified volunteers to provide free tax preparation services at 3 sites: Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund (LALDEF), Salvation Army Trenton, and at our office in Lawrenceville.
The volunteers committed 1,650+ hours to the 2020 Tax Year.
Money Received for Basic Needs
- $1,424 AVERAGE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT (EITC)
- $1,288 AVERAGE CHILD TAX CREDIT (CTC)
- $1,241 AVERAGE REFUND AMOUNT
Why Our Work Matters
To qualify for Federal and community resources like food assistance (including school lunch and breakfast), health insurance (including Medicaid), college financial aid, and other programs proof of income is required. The IRS supplemental assistance during the pandemic was contingent upon a tax return filing therefore, it was crucial for individuals and families to have their tax returns up to date. We made sure of that. In addition, to qualify for resources, failure to file may result in back taxes and more debt for families that are already struggling to make ends meet.
Connection Beyond Free Tax Returns
Families and individuals that benefit from our free tax service are often referred to our benefits program, or other community resources to help them get additional assistance.
"I was just sharing with a retired Accountant friend how fulfilling it was to work with Bill and the VITA team. Since I am a nerd who loves numbers, it was fun for me and a way to help others. This work helped all of us feel valued. It was fun meeting people by phone, encouraging them and of course, getting them nice refunds. ‘Helping one person might not change the world.... but it could change the world for one person.”’
- Diane J. Brooks, Excellence Center Transformation Leader at Solvay Princeton.
Based on 2020-2021 Data