The Walmart Foundation has teamed up with the United Way and other nonprofits to offer free tax filing services, along with education on eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and government nutritional assistance programs.
The MyFreeTaxes program, which launched Thursday, is expected to return an estimated $1.75 billion in total tax refunds, credits and tax preparation fee savings to eligible taxpayers this year. Taxpayers who earned under $57,000 a year can qualify. The retailer opened the MyFreeTaxes.com Web site, where taxpayers can file their state and federal taxes for free. The site also provides information on in-person IRS-certified, volunteer tax prep assistance in 20 cities through a fleet of MyFreeTaxes mobile vans decorated with the Walmart logo.
Walmart is donating $4.35 million to United Way Worldwide, One Economy and the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour as part of the program. The money will be used to fund 100 United Way-led, community-based tax preparation efforts at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites. IRS-certified VITA volunteers will be aboard the vans.
The money will also be used to support the MyFreeTaxes.com site, which is operated by One Economy, a global nonprofit organization that uses technology to benefit low-income people.
The funds will also support the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour, which aims to provide free tax preparation and filing assistance, along with other asset building strategies, to eligible low-income persons with disabilities.
In addition to the tax preparation services offered by MyFreeTaxes program partners, taxpayers will also have access to eligibility information about the Earned Income Tax Credit, along with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits. Consumers can also calculate their EITC benefits via mobile device by visiting http://bit.ly/mytaxbackapp.
Earlier this month, Walmart teamed up with H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt to open tax prep kiosks at more than 3,000 of its stores, offering free filing of 1040EZ federal tax returns and tax refund check-cashing services (see Walmart Offers Free Federal 1040EZ Filing).
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant has been working on improving its image in recent years, especially in urban areas that continue to resist efforts to open its big-box stores. The company has been facing opposition by labor groups that so far have been stymied in efforts to organize workers at the stores. The company has been accused of offering such low pay that many of its employees are forced to rely on government nutritional assistance programs like WIC and SNAP.
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