The 28 Million Dollar Return - Connecting ALICE and Other Hard-Working People with Opportunities to Get Ahead
July 17, 2015
This past tax season, nearly 11,000 filers received $28.4 million in federal refunds and credits through the 2015 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and MyFreeTaxes Campaign in central and northeastern Connecticut. This campaign was supported by United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, in partnership with The Village for Families & Children, City of Hartford, Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc., Community Accounting Aid and Services, and many municipal and community providers.
"The VITA and MyFreeTaxes Campaign speaks directly to the work of United Way and its partners as champions of working families, including the newly revealed demographic called the ALICE population," stated Susan B. Dunn, President and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.
ALICE stands for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, representing households that earn more than the federal poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. ALICE struggles to pay bills, put food on the table and make ends meet. A recent report found that one in three families our region is ALICE.
Household incomes up to $53,000 were eligible to get free help to prepare and file their tax returns at a VITA site; filers with incomes up to $60,000 could, again, file their own taxes for free online using MyFreeTaxes.com. At VITA sites, filers received the refunds and credits they've earned, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Childcare Tax. They were also connected to other financial services such as - Chet Baby Scholars, SaveYourRefund, United Way Volunteer Budget Coaching, and workshops at our Women's Leadership Council-supported Family Financial Centers, in partnership with The Village for Families & Children, in Hartford.
Free tax preparation services, financial education, and budgeting programs are just some ways United Way and our partners connect ALICE and other hard-working people with opportunities to get ahead.
"My refund was a true blessing. I am so fortunate for the VITA program and highly recommend it to others," said JoAnn, a life-long Hartford resident. "I am using my refund to pay bills and reduce debt."
VITA sites were located in Enfield, Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Vernon, West Hartford, Windsor Locks, Putnam, and the Windham Region. In total, 300 IRS-certified volunteers, who are vital to the success of this program, supported our work to help families become financially secure.
2015 VITA and MyFreeTaxes Campaign partners included: City of Hartford; Bloomberg Philanthropies/Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund; Community Accounting Aid and Services; Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; Human Resources Agency of New Britain; Liberty Bank Foundation; United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut; United Way of Connecticut/2-1-1; The Village for Families & Children; and Walmart Foundation.