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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

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Despite being one of life’s only certainties, taxes carry plenty of uncertainty for families every year, which is why the average tax filer pays upwards of $220 to file their returns, according to the National Society of Accountants. That’s a significant burden for many low-income households, who also may have complicated tax scenarios and can be more vulnerable to predatory business practices. Meanwhile, major changes in tax law due to the COVID-19 pandemic offer major benefits to many tax filers – if they can navigate the complex tax code.  

That’s why United Way is proud to support VITA, an IRS initiative offering free, safe, and certified tax preparation services targeting low-income and limited-English taxpayers, at sites across our four-county region. Last year, United Way provided more than $150,000 from our Financial Empowerment for Women initiative fund to eight free tax preparation sites in Ozaukee, Milwaukee, and Waukesha Counties. Combined, these sites helped ​nearly 8700 households claim more than $12 million in refunds and save over $1.8 million in preparation fees.   

United Way is proud to again partner with trusted local VITA sites as well as host sites for Tax-Aide services from AARP for the current tax year. Interested in exploring whether there are free assisted or DIY tax options for you this year? Click on the links below to see if there are virtual or local-in-person options right for you to file your taxes for free this year.  


Don’t miss out on these credits!

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)? 
The EITC is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working people.

How do I know if I’m eligible for the EITC? 
To claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you must have what qualifies as earned income and meet certain adjusted gross income (AGI) and credit limits for the current, previous and upcoming tax years.

What is the Child Tax Credit (CTC)? 
The Child Tax Credit program can reduce the federal tax you own for each qualifying child under the age of 18. In 2021, the IRS began making advance Child Tax Credit payments to qualifying families, which made monthly cash payments to qualifying families totaling up to 50% of the total credit, which is $3600 for children 5 and under or $3000 for children ages 6 to 17. Those advance payments and other expansions of the credit are not legislated to continue beyond families’ 2021 tax year filing. 

How do I know if I’m eligible for the CTC? 
To claim the CTC, there are seven qualifying elements for each child: age, relationship, support, dependent status, citizenship, length of residency and family income. You and/or your child must pass all seven to claim this tax credit. Child Tax Credit FAQs

What is the homestead credit program?
The Wisconsin homestead credit program is designed to soften the impact of property taxes and rent on persons with lower incomes. The benefit available may take the form of an income tax credit or a direct refund. The credit is based on the relationship of your household income to the amount of your allowable property taxes and/or rent for the calendar year. 

Visit a VITA site or review this 2021 Tax Credit Chart to see if you’re eligible.

Have questions about filing your taxes?

Visit a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site to meet with a tax preparer for free. Site locations and hours vary, please call or click on the links below for hours.
Households with income of $66,000 or less qualify for VITA free tax preparation assistance.

La Casa de Esperanza
(Services available in Spanish)
By Appointment Only

Social Development Commission