By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member

The 2022 tax season is in full swing, and the IRS has already delivered more than four million refunds as of Feb. 4. 

Low- to moderate-income workers and families can qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which can be used to reduce the taxes they owe and can potentially increase their refund. 

United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), a nonprofit that works to improve health, education and economic opportunity in communities, is making it easier for residents of the Washington metropolitan area to determine if they qualify for the EITC by offering free and virtual tax preparation services to those with an annual income of $56,000 or less. 

“The EITC is one of the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty programs,” said Ian Gordon, vice president of community impact and engagement at United Way NCA. “Over 20 million low- to moderate-income Americans benefit from the EITC during tax season every year.”

The services are available at the organization’s network of Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs), as well as at several partnering IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program sites throughout the Washington metropolitan area until April 15. 

Aside from the EITC, which is funded in part by Citi Community Development, trained IRS professionals will help workers and families determine if they are eligible for the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

In 2021, those who qualified for the EITC in the Washington metropolitan area received an average tax refund of $2,300. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s long-term effect on unemployment, income loss and business closures, it is expected that more individuals will require access to free tax services, and many will qualify for the EITC for the first time. 

“Your United Way of the National Capital Area supports the path to financial equity through our network of FECs that offer free services to help our neighbors claim these credits,” said Gordon. “As one of the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty programs, the EITC is an important benefit for low- to moderate-income Americans during tax season every year.” 

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