The Enterprise-led Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition offers free tax preparation services to local residents through the IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
Year after year, taxpayers rely on this service to receive the credits and refunds they are due and save hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on paid preparers.
Research shows that these funds are spent overwhelmingly on basic needs like rent and groceries, and return millions of dollars to our local economy. Moreover, this money is proven to increase financial and housing security, improve educational outcomes for children and help families lead healthier lives.
The EITC Coalition program is testimony to how something as basic and necessary as taxes can have compounding benefits that ripple outwards and last for years.
This year alone, the program accomplished the following:
- 12 tax sites opened to the public using Covid-safe social drop-off methods, and a virtual tax site was created to ensure accessibility to everyone
- 9,341 total returns filed
- $14.3 million in refunds were given back to taxpayers and put right into our local economy
- $3.4 million in refunds were in EITC benefits alone
- $3.2 million saved in money that would have otherwise been spent on paid preparers
- 163 volunteers that stepped up to help us prepare taxes despite all the challenges
- 66 volunteers that helped us virtually for the first time
We have always understood accessibility to be an essential pillar of our work. That is why during the early days of the pandemic, one of our first questions became how to keep our services available, even as we had to close our doors.
Last year, with the help of our staff, partners, and dedicated volunteers, we were able to transition to an entirely virtual and dropoff model allowing taxpayers to file with us in ways that were both secure and safe.
During this time, we also stood as a resource to the community helping people access critical federal aid dollars. According to the IRS, nationwide over 12 million people were at risk of missing out on Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) worth over $12 billion dollars in economic assistance.
Through partnerships with United Way's 2-1-1, CHN Housing Partners, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and University Hospitals, we received over 1,000 referrals from clients seeking help with EIPs or the new Advance Child Tax Credit. Our volunteers and staff were always able to help, either filing taxes or answering questions to navigate the system and give peace of mind.
We want to give special thanks this year to the local community organizations that supported our work on the ground by opening tax sites:
- Asian Services In Action
- Baldwin Wallace College
- Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc.
- CHN Housing Partners
- Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People
- Famicos Foundation
- Metro West CDC
- Mt Pleasant NOW
- Northwest Neighborhoods CDC
- Step Forward
We thank everyone involved in making a difference in the lives of so many in Cuyahoga County. We are already busy planning for the next tax season to achieve even greater heights. Keep an eye out in the months to come on ways you can help.