The city of Philadelphia has partnered with nonprofit agencies and Temple University to assist residents with free tax preparation services, starting Saturday.

For a full list, directions, and other information, go to www.youearneditphilly.com/#locate-eitc. You can also call the city hotline (215-686-9200and hit 3) or text FILE to 99000 and get updates on tax credits and deadlines.

This year the deadline for taxes is Wednesday, April 15.

The city has partnered with three nonprofit agencies to assist Philadelphians with tax preparation: the Campaign for Working Families, Ceiba, and PathWays PA.

“We’re working with well-established community leaders and organizations to provide information, as well as 27 free tax-filing locations in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia that provide flexible hours, translation services, IRS-certified preparers, and access to additional city services,” said Philly’s Revenue Commissioner, Frank Breslin.

Don’t forget to check whether you’re eligible for the federal earned income tax credit (EITC), a benefit for working folks with low to moderate income.

If you qualify, “that’s a lot of money back in your pocket, potentially thousands of dollars,” Breslin said. “There are 200,000 Philadelphians who file and get this credit. About 45,000 Philly residents whom we believe qualify and don’t file to get this money. That’s over $100 million we estimate is left on the table” in refundable credits.

The earned income tax credit is a refundable credit available to individuals and families, and can be worth up to $6,500 or more per income tax return.

To qualify, taxpayers must have the following:

  • Minimum earned income of $1 to be eligible.
  • Income limits that range from $15,570 to $55,952, depending upon whether you’re filing as single, head of household, or married filing jointly, as well as the number of qualifying children.
  • Be between ages 25 to 65 or have a qualifying child.
  • A valid Social Security number.

For more information, check the EITC website: www.youearneditphilly.com.

Temple University will again offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program on its Ambler campus.

The program will be offered Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Ambler Campus Learning Center from Feb. 8 through April 11. VITA is offered in association with the Internal Revenue Service.

Temple University accounting professor Steven Balsam said, “VITA is a program for those with low to moderate incomes. If a family or individual’s income is less than $56,000, they are eligible.”

City Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin.
City of Philadelphia
City Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin.

Alternatively, you can file online.

The IRS recently signed a new agreement with Free File, formerly known as the Free File Alliance, resolving the controversy surrounding free versions of consumer tax-prep software.

A series of articles by investigative news site ProPublica exposed problems with Free File, which was supposed to allow taxpayers who earn less than $69,000 a year to file for free using commercial software.

ProPublica instead found some vendors, such as Intuit and H&R Block, hid free versions on search engines, and consumers were steered toward paid products, instead, even if they qualified for free software.

Now, tax software vendors can’t exclude their Free File landing page from online search. For 2020, vendors in the Free File program include 1040Now Inc., ezTaxReturn.com (English and Spanish), FileYourTaxes.com, H&R Block, Intuit, On-Line Taxes Inc., Tax ACT, TaxHawk Inc., and TaxSlayer (English and Spanish).

Below is a list of free tax-filing sites you can visit in person around Philadelphia: www.youearneditphilly.com/#locate-eitc. Click on that link and find the address for each site. Make sure to bring all the needed documents and last year’s tax return, if possible.

CENTER CITY

  • Center City Super Site
  • District 1199C Training Fund
  • Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation

GERMANTOWN

  • CareerLink Northwest
  • Indochinese-American Council

NORTH PHILADELPHIA

  • Campaign for Working Families headquarters
  • HACE Business & Visitor Center
  • St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
  • Vaux EnVision Center

NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA

  • Northeast Super Site

KENSINGTON

  • Ceiba
  • Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Impact Services
  • NKCDC – Orinoka Civic House

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA

  • Dixon House
  • United Communities

SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA

  • Ebenezer Church

WEST PHILADELPHIA

  • ACHIEVEability
  • CHOP Karabots
  • Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church
  • ParkWest Town Center

FREE FILE ONLINE SITES

  • Lenfest Center
  • Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network
  • Project HOME – Honickman Center
  • Project HOME – Hub of Hope
  • Project HOME – Main Office
  • Utility Emergency Services Fund