Creating millions of dollars in local economic impact, United Way’s RealSense financial stability initiative had a banner year in 2015 with its free tax preparation program. With IRS-certified volunteer tax-preparers, RealSense is able to help individuals and families save hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees and get the refunds they earned.
Stories of success and real life change are a frequent part of the RealSense tax season. Volunteers regularly share heartfelt moments where clients found a special sense of trust and support from RealSense.
“One couple had gone to a [paid] tax preparer near Orlando. They had gotten lots back,” shared Matthew Laney, a veteran volunteer tax preparer. “They kept saying that it was wrong. They had the cash in hand, waiting to give it to me.”
This kind of trust keeps families coming back year after year. Our volunteers are dedicated to helping hardworking families get the refunds and credits they deserve, such as the earned income tax credit (EITC) and child tax credit—two of the biggest poverty alleviation credits available.
We are proud to share the 2015 tax season outcomes made possible by donors whose investment in the Community Impact Fund ensures strategic initiatives like RealSense can continue to support financial stability across Northeast Florida.
Here’s the roundup:
• 20,162 returns e-filed, a 3% increase over last year
• 22% (4,455) claimed the EITC
• Total refunds: $27,130,238
• Total EITC Dollars: $7,952,324
• Total saved on tax preparation fees: $4,141,937
• Volunteer hours: 35,637
RealSense’s work doesn’t end with tax season! They help families responsibly manage their refunds and general finances throughout the year by providing free financial education classes and money coaching. You can check out upcoming financial education workshops and sign up for one that interests you.
RealSense is a coalition of agencies, nonprofits and local businesses working in partnership to improve the financial stability of Northeast Florida residents. Since 2003, RealSense has brought more than $60 million in EITC federal dollars into the local community.