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United Way Financial Independence Initiative

Free Tax Preparation

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ALICE scholarshipsALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained,
Employed) and those in poverty struggle to stay afloat financially without enough resources to meet even their families’ most basic needs. And when tax season comes around, without sufficient knowledge of tax law or the resources to hire a trained preparer, families can be at a disadvantage. They might miss out on programs, credits, and deductions that could help them lower their tax liability or receive a refund that could help them to pay down the bills or save for future emergencies.

To help these families maximize their deductions and refunds, United Way of Northern New Jersey works with NORWESCAP RSVP, Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Partners for Health Foundation, Single Stop and the IRS to offer free tax preparation across the region. Beginning each February, eligible northern New Jersey residents can make appointments to visit free tax sites staffed by community volunteers who undergo rigorous training by the IRS to qualify as certified tax preparers.

If you are interested in having your taxes prepared at one of our Free Tax Preparation Sites, explore the links below for important information:

Free Tax Preparation Sites

Day, evening, and weekend hours are available by appointment only. Sites open in February and remain available through Tax Day*. Please note: Tax preparation is not available for businesses, stockholders, or landlords.

Three Easy Ways to Schedule Your Free Tax Preparation Appointment

  1. Northern New Jersey residents who live in Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, or suburban Essex Counties can call 973.993.1160, x5 to learn if they are eligible for this service and to schedule an appointment. The towns we serve in suburban Essex County include the Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Livingston, Millburn-Short Hills, Montclair, Roseland, and Verona.
  2. Northern New Jersey residents can also make appointments online by clicking on the links below:
    • Click here if you live in Millburn, Short Hills, or any town in Somerset, Sussex, or Warren Counties, or if you plan to schedule an appointment to have your taxes prepared at Interfaith Food Pantry in Morris Plains.
    • Click here if you live in suburban Essex County.
  3. Anyone in New Jersey can dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a local tax site. Click here for a full list of free tax sites in the state. 

* We can help with back taxes. For more information, call Monica Conover at 973.993.1160, x529.

File a Return Online for Free
MyFreeTaxes.com provides a free online service to file taxes. Families and individuals with household incomes of $66,000 or less in 2017 are eligible to use this website for both federal and state returns. Click here to learn more.

Anyone needing help while filing a return can call 1.855.MY.TX.HELP (1.855.698.9435) to be connected with a qualified tax volunteer. English and Spanish support is available.

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What to Bring

Download this postcard with a list of all the essentials you will need to bring to your free tax preparation appointment.
PDF Icon PDF Tax Appointment Checklist

Social Security Cards
You will need to bring your Social Security Card to file your taxes through a free tax preparation site. If you misplaced your card or are not sure of your number, not to worry! Click here and learn how to obtain this information.

Individual Tax Identification Numbers
If you do not have a Social Security Card, you will need to bring your Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have an ITIN, United Way of Northern New Jersey is a Certified Acceptance Agency and can help you obtain one.

What is an ITIN? An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number, but who do not have and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number. This is for federal tax reporting only; ITINs are not intended to serve any other purpose. The IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with U.S. tax laws, and to provide an efficient means to process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers. Click here for more information regarding ITIN numbers.

For More Information
For questions about Social Security Cards or ITIN numbers, email Monica Conover or call 973.993.1160, x529.

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Helpful Tools

We’ve gathered some additional resources for taxpayers here that may be of use during tax season.

Tax Credit Information and Eligibility 
There are many specialized tax credits designed to reduce the tax burden for hardworking people who qualify. Click on the links below to learn more and to determine your eligibility.

IRS Withholding Calculator
Some individuals may benefit from having less money withheld from their paychecks, giving them more money now to help pay bills or build savings. Others may not have enough withheld from their paychecks and end up having to pay back the government at tax time. For help determining the best option for you, click here to access the IRS withholding calculator.

The Affordable Care Act and Your Taxes
If you are confused about how the Affordable Care Act affects your taxes, the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help. They offer several tools that can assist in calculating health-care-related tax credits and/or payments. While these estimators cannot be guaranteed, they can guide you in making decisions about your tax situation.

If you get insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and not another source like your employer or a government-sponsored plan, you may be eligible for a Premium Tax Credit to help you pay for that coverage. Click here to learn more.

Starting in January 2014, the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision requires that you and each member of your family do one of the following:

  • Have health care coverage (called minimum essential coverage) in each month of the year
  • Qualify for an exemption from coverage, or
  • Make a shared responsibility payment when you file your federal income tax return. 

Click here to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and your taxes.

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Volunteer

In the fall, United Way recruits volunteers to become IRS-certified tax preparers. No experience is necessary. We provide free training to teach you everything you need to know as a tax preparer of both federal and state tax returns.

Not good with numbers?  No problem! There are many other opportunities to get involved during tax season. Click here to learn more or sign up as a tax volunteer.

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