It’s tax time!

    February 2021

    In 1716, playwright Christopher Bullock, in a quote later made famous by Benjamin Franklin, said, “’Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.” Roughly 300 years later, this sentiment is as accurate as ever.

    Despite the uncertain times we live in, some things never change, and one of them is taxes. The world looked a lot different one year ago today. Could our time-honored tradition of filing taxes be a source of normalcy and almost seem… fun? While I wouldn’t go quite that far, please allow me to tell you about a United Way partnership that can make filing your taxes free and easy.

    Great Rivers United Way is excited to once again promote MyFreeTaxes allows taxpayers to easily and accurately file their taxes from their computer or smartphone. MyFreeTaxes is a free and easy way to file simple federal and state tax returns for free.

    Taxes can be a source of confusion and stress for Americans. Many of us are intimidated by the complexities of taxes and afraid to make a mistake that will cost money. With MyFreeTaxes, you can take advantage of all the tax credits and deductions you qualify for. That’s especially important now, as so many are struggling in the wake of the pandemic.

    MyFreeTaxes’ secure software walks you through the filing process and screens for common tax deductions and credits you may be eligible for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit. You can also use MyFreeTaxes to claim missed stimulus payments. That’s part of United Way’s effort to make sure taxpayers get back every penny possible.

    At Great Rivers United Way, we recognize the importance of understanding your taxes and the deductions available to you, as well as the role tax returns play in the financial situations of our community’s most at-risk populations. Not only do we fund programs that stabilize household economic situations so people experience thriving lives, we promote resources like MyFreeTaxes that have a real and meaningful impact on local people’s financial stability.

    EITC is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet the eligibility requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any taxes or are not required to file. EITC not only reduces the amount of tax you owe; it may give you a refund. In 2019, the average EITC received per tax filer was $2,476.

    For the last five years, Great Rivers United Way has participated in a local partnership called Coulee Region Tax Assistance (CRTA). CRTA is an IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site where volunteers help lower-income taxpayers accurately prepare their taxes with ease and at zero cost. Since 2017, this partnership has helped 227 returns claim the EITC, which often goes unclaimed despite being much-needed free money that lower-income households could use to thrive.

    Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, CRTA will not be in operation this year. The partnership is instead encouraging people to self-prepare with MyFreeTaxes.

    To get started, visit To learn more about the EITC, whether you qualify, and why this deduction is so important, check out IRS resources at To join Great Rivers United Way in advocating for the EITC, visit

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