Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Irvine, CA (June 20, 2024) Orange County United Way’s OC Free Tax Prep program prepared 13,629 tax returns throughout Orange County this year – playing a pivotal role in aiding the community to becoming more financially stable.

A Snapshot of 2024 Outcomes

  • 13,629 tax returns prepared throughout Orange County
  • Almost $12.3 million in federal and state refunds issued, as well as more than $2.8 million in federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), and $2.8 million in other tax credits
  • $3.4 million saved in tax preparation fees
  • Total local impact of $21.3 million

Orange County United Way, in collaboration with 35 local organizations, provided free tax filing assistance to eligible taxpayers (individuals earning less than $64K in 2023) and helped assess their qualification for federal and California EITC. With the support of 473 volunteers from these partner organizations, a total of 17,509 hours were committed to providing tax preparation services and outreach to low- to moderate-income individuals, families, seniors, and those with limited English proficiency.

The OC Free Tax Prep program is part of Orange County United Way’s United for Financial Security initiative to increase the number of financially stable families in Orange County and break the cycle of poverty.

“Every year Californians miss out on millions in federal and state tax refunds and credits. The OC Free Tax Prep program allows the people of Orange County to get their money back and become more self-sufficient,” said Susan B. Parks, President, and CEO of Orange County United Way. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our partners and volunteers whose invaluable contributions have enabled us to prepare over 13,600 tax returns, significantly impacting our community.”

Orange County United Way leads the OC Free Tax Prep program, coordinates volunteer recruitment and training, and distributes countywide informational materials. Throughout the county, taxpayers saved an estimated $3.4 million on tax preparation fees. Additionally, more than 470 volunteers contributed 17,509 hours through 35 partner organizations this year.

“The success of OC Free Tax Prep would not be possible without our amazing and dedicated volunteers, staff, elected officials and City and County staff who support our efforts to help more residents keep their hard earned money, and we are truly grateful,” said Theresa Jackson, Senior Program Manager of the OC Free Tax Prep Program. 

Dan, a single father to twin teen boys, one of whom has a speech disability, could not afford the filing fees and heard he was not required to file taxes due to his income level, thus had skipped the past couple of years. This year, he saw an increase in income and while he was anxious to file his taxes, he was relieved to find out he qualified for various credits and could still file for previous years that he missed.

In total, Dan received a refund for three years of unfiled taxes, including $20,304 from federal and $3,666 from state, totaling nearly $24,000 that he did not realize was owed to him. He now can start saving for his sons’ college education, purchase shoes and bikes for them, and enroll his son into speech therapy.

“OC Free Tax Prep saved my life, helped my family, did a great service for my children, saved me over $600 in filing fees, and were very professional. I am thankful and blessed,” said Dan.

“We are excited about the future of OC Free Tax Prep and look forward to expanding the program even more to target a greater percentage of the hard-to-reach population and older adults, increasing our number of partners and tax filing sites, as well as dedicating more time to educating people about the tax credits they are eligible for,” said Andrew Fahmy, Executive Director of Orange County United Way’s United for Financial Security initiative.

For more information about OC Free Tax Prep, please visit: https://ocfreetaxprep.com/.

ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY UNITED WAY

Orange County United Way is committed to breaking barriers and improving lives for everyone who lives here. Through our key initiatives—United for Student Success℠, United for Financial Security℠, and United to End Homelessness℠—we are working to ensure local students succeed, families gain financial security, and our unhoused neighbors find a place to call home. We also offer vital support via 2-1-1 Orange County (211OC), a key service that connects thousands of our most vulnerable residents with health and human service resources. We are committed to caring for one another. That’s #TheOCWay.

This year, Orange County United Way celebrates 100 years of purpose and impact in Orange County. To learn more or discover how you can help, visit UnitedWayOC.org.

Orange County United Way is a standalone, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.



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Editor
The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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