One of the core areas of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s work that you support with your contribution is helping individuals and families gain the economic opportunities and financial tools they need to be financially stable. Specifically, United Way focuses on employment training and placement, tax assistance and financial literacy education.
United Way supports 63 partner agencies that provide financial stability programming, including the Center for Economic Progress (CEP). CEP helps low-income, working families by providing tax and financial services including one-on-one financial coaching on budgeting, banking and improving credit scores.
This tax season we are once again partnering with CEP to provide free tax assistance to low-income families in local communities, including our Neighborhood Network communities of Auburn Gresham, West Chicago and Brighton Park.
Operating one of the largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs in Illinois, CEP provides low-wage workers with free, high quality tax preparation. They serve families who make less than $50,000 and individuals who make less than $25,000. Based on these income guidelines, CEP can help one in three Illinois residents with free tax assistance to make sure they are getting the most money back to maximize their household income.
Among the most common tax credits working families are entitled to are the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit. The EITC helps lower-wage working families keep more of what they earn and the Child Tax Credit helps to offset the cost of raising children. Research finds that the EITC encourages work, reduces poverty and leads to long-term gains in academic success and child health. Together, the credits help lift more than 450,000 Illinoisans out of poverty each year.
We are pleased to partner with the Center for Economic Progress to provide tax assistance again this year. Through our partnership we have generated $98 million in tax refunds for low-income families in local communities. With you, we’re proud to support their work as part of ours to ensure financial stability for families.