United Way encourages community to use free tax help, file with MyFreeTaxes

EASLEY — United Way of Pickens County encourages Americans earning $62,000 or less to keep more of their hard-earned money this tax season by using a free, online tax preparation service and accessing valuable tax credits.

A new national survey finds 72 percent of working Americans making that amount or less are unaware they qualify for free tax filing and counseling.

The survey, conducted for United Way Worldwide, finds that most respondents are unfamiliar with MyFreeTaxes, a mobile-optimized software program allowing free federal and state tax preparation and filing in all 50 states and Washington, DC. The self-file service is available for anyone earning $62,000 or less. On average, filers can save $200 in tax preparation fees by using the free platform. United Way also offers free in-person filing assistance through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Call 2-1-1 to make a VITA appointment at sites located in Central, Easley, Liberty and Pickens.

“We recognize that affordable tax preparation services are out of reach for many in our community,” said Julie Capaldi, CEO of United Way of United Way of Pickens County. “In addition to the savings derived from using this service, taxpayers can reduce the amount of income tax they pay by claiming valuable credits. We know that tax refunds help many in our community achieve greater financial stability, and we want to help them keep more of what they earn.”

Limited Awareness of Tax Credits

Many of the 1,000 adults surveyed were unaware that they were eligible for tax credits. Just four in ten adults reported awareness of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), while fewer than 60 percent said they are familiar with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Almost 20 percent were not aware of any tax credits they could access.

In working to boost financial stability in Pickens County, United Way of Pickens County has seen first-hand the power of connecting people to tax credits through MyFreeTaxes and VITA. Last year, United Way of Pickens County volunteers completed 1,200 tax returns resulting in $1,328,597 in tax refunds, $411,472 in EITC, and $143,223 in CTC. The average income of a VITA taxpayer last year was $$16,841.

Last year, taxpayers used VITA to complete nearly 2 million returns, bringing $2.35 billion back to communities, including more than $681 million in refunds from tax credits, which Congress made permanent at the end of 2015.

Spending Refunds on Critical Needs

Tax refunds help working Americans put money in their pockets for everyday items and save for the future. About 23 percent of those asked say they spend their refunds for food, while 22 percent spend the money on housing costs; 31 percent use their refunds for utilities. A quarter of those who receive refunds put the money into savings or invest the funds for the future.

United Way Can Help With Tax Preparation

Filers can enter data into the secure MyFreeTaxes site anytime, from anywhere, making it easy to update the documents from home, at work or on mobile devices. The service also includes a helpline, 1-855-MY-TX-HELP, which operates through April 18 from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm EST Monday through Friday and noon to 9:00 pm EST Saturday; staff will continue to provide assistance on a more limited basis through Oct. 15, based on demand. The website also provides a live chat function. To find a VITA site near you, visit or call 1-855-MY-TX-HELP.

Those earning more than $62,000 a year can use the H&R Block software through the MyFreeTaxes site at a discounted rate.

For more information, contact Jeremy Price at or 864-850-7094 ext. 133.