Free Tax Preparation assistance from low and middle-income residents

Allegheny County residents should know about the Money in Your Pocket (MIYP) Coalition Free Tax Preparation Campaign, which helps financially struggling individuals and families file their 2013 federal, state and local tax returns. There are 11 locations staffed with IRS-trained tax preparers throughout Allegheny County.

Now in its fifth year, the free tax preparation campaign helps low and middle-income workers maximize their tax refunds by claiming valuable state and federal tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Services are provided free of charge, offering clients a cost-saving alternative to expensive commercial tax preparation fees.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit for people who work but do not earn high incomes. Taxpayers who quality for and claim the credit pay less federal tax, pay no tax at all, or even get a tax refund. Qualified residents could be eligible for a refund between $475 and $5,891.

IRS-trained tax preparers help residents get the refund they deserve without expensive service fees and without predatory “payday” loans. In today’s economy, more workers may qualify due to reduced incomes. EITC can make their lives a little easier. The credit can increase their federal income tax refunds by up to $5,981, depending on their individual circumstances. But to get their EITC, they must know about the credit, then file and specifically claim it.

The Money in Your Pocket Coalition wants to reach every working individual who may qualify for EITC, including:

·         Newly eligible taxpayers, due to changes in their income, marital or parental status during 2012;

·         Self-employed individuals;

·         Workers with disabilities;

·         Workers in non-traditional situations, such as grandparents raising grandchildren;

·         Childless workers, especially those whose earnings may be too low to require filing; and

·         Workers with limited English proficiency.

To get started, individuals may call 2-1-1, the free hotline providing easy access to health, housing and human services information. This year, PA 2-1-1 Southwest is taking MIYP tax calls and scheduling appointments. In addition, PA 2-1-1 staff are making referrals to, a resource for those residents with incomes higher than the MIYP limits, but not exceeding $57,000. Call specialists can also talk with residents about other resources available to help them in times of need.

Through April 15, 2013, volunteers will help Allegheny County residents whose annual incomes do not exceed $20,000 for an individual or $40,000 for a household that can claim at least one dependent. Residents can receive their refund in as little as 9 days.

For more information about the Free Tax Preparation Campaign, visit the Money In Your Pocket Coalition website at or dial 2-1-1.

Find out more about the impact MIYP makes in our community by watching this one-minute video to learn how “Every Dollar Matters“.