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Community Impact in PA 

United Ways Help Pennsylvanians File Accurate and Timely Tax Returns  

Nineteen United Ways in Pennsylvania help individuals and families file taxes through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and other programs for seniors.  Through VITA, volunteers become certified tax preparers and provide qualifying individuals and families with free, reliable assistance in filing federal tax returns.

VITA programs are up and running now through the end of tax season in many PA communities. Generally, anyone who earned $54,000 or less in 2016 may qualify for VITA tax preparation. There are also Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs available to individuals who are 60 or older and meet the same income criteria. To find out more about how to access these programs in your community, check out this county-by-county VITA listing prepared by UWP, or search this IRS database by zip code to find the nearest VITA or Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs in your area.

Taxpayers utilizing volunteer preparer sites in Pennsylvania had an average AGI of $20,100 in 2014. Also during the 2014 filing season, volunteers prepared more than 148,000 tax returns for our state; returning $154 million to Pennsylvania communities. This work supports United Way's efforts to fight for the financial sustainability of all people in all communities, by assuring that low and middle income working families are able to access poverty-fighting tax credits for which they are eligible.

The United Way network supports preserving and enhancing the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. These important U.S. tax policies put money back in the pockets of working families. The EITC is broadly considered our nation's most effective pro-work, anti-poverty tool. Only those who work are eligible, allowing them to keep more of what they earn. The average earned income tax credit amount in PA is $2271. In 2015, just shy of 920,000 in PA people claimed the EITC for a total tax savings of $2.1 billion.

The economic impact of these tax credits is significant for our state. The EITC and CTC help low- and moderate-income working families make ends meet, together lifting 223,000 out of poverty in 2013, including 116,000 children, in Pennsylvania.  The credits also generate significant economic activity in communities, pumping about $1.8BN into Pennsylvania in 2012. 


United Way's VITA Sites  
Make a Difference! 

VITA Clients Share How the Program Makes a Difference

Here are a couple of examples of taxpayers who benefitted from the working family tax credits they were able to access for free with the help of a local United Way's VITA program:
 
Jerry M. has lived in Erie all his life and has been employed in the local tourism industry as a valet for the past eight years. He is the sole provider for his three sons. Although he does not own a home and does not have a savings account, Jerry has developed a financial plan for using his refund to meet the needs of his family.  His tax refund is deposited directly into his checking account. He uses a portion of it to pre-pay his rent and to maintain positive balances on his utilities.  Additionally, he will set some aside for summer activities with his sons.
 
Jerry says of his Erie FREE Taxes experience, "It's easy to set up an appointment, I get all my taxes done for free, and I have a lot of locations to choose from. I always have a pleasant experience. The people are knowledgeable and polite. I went to the same site for three years and felt like I had my own tax lady. It's free, all your returns are done, and you know you're getting every credit you're owed.  I leave no money on the table-I get every penny back I'm owed."     
 
Shelby is a single mom of two who works as an office assistant in south central PA. She and her two children currently live with family members. She is a first-time client of the Money in your Pocket program, for which United Way of the Capital Region serves as the lead agency.  She plans to use her tax return money to an apartment for herself and her children. And she plans to return in 2018 to have her taxes prepared by Money in Your Pocket volunteers.
 
As a single mom of two, every penny counts," says a teary-eyed Shelby. "I am so grateful to the volunteers and this program for their help."


PA UNITED WAYS IN THE NEWS

Check out what United Ways are doing throughout PA! 

United Way of Berks County and Dr. Seuss Celebrate Reading on Read Across America Day: 


United Way of Erie Receives Endowment from late Founder of Warren Radio: 


United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey CEO, Jim Cawley, speaks with Comcast Newsmakers about the Earned Income Tax Credit: 


UNITED WAYS ACROSS THE NATION

Check out some of the great work United Ways are doing across the country! 

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has put 192,130 on the Path to Financial Stability:



United Way of The River Cities to Host Third "Together we Rise": 

UPCOMING UNITED WAY 
EVENTS

UWP Hill Day
Harrisburg, PA 
March 21, 2017 

UWP Annual Conference 
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort 
June 21-23

Check Out What Your Local United Way has Going On
LIVING UNITED IN PENNSYLVANIA
United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) is a state association representing our 52 member United Way's across the Commonwealth. 

UWP's mission is to assist and champion the efforts of local United Ways in advancing the common good

Primarily UWP's work consists of government relations work on the policy issues affecting PA's communities in the areas of health, education, and financial stability.  In addition, UWP works with our local United Way members to support their efforts and offer support to their mission.  


Visit United Way of Pennsylvania's website
to learn more about how local United Ways are working to advance the common good

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