Preliminary end-of-season statistics show that more than 5,700 federal returns were filed through Erie FREE Taxes’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for the 2015 filing season. This represents a 10% increase over the 2013 Tax Year. One hundred forty volunteers participated in the VITA program in 2015.
The amount of federal refund dollars returned to the Erie community through Erie FREE Taxes during the 2015 filing season topped $8.9M with more than $3.5M in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) dollars included in this total. Additionally, this season’s tax filer savings, as a result of using Erie FREE Taxes, is an estimated $1.5M.
When tax filer savings are combined with federal refund dollars, the total economic value of the Erie FREE Taxes 2015 VITA program is an estimated $10.7M. More precise data will be provided after the IRS releases final tallies for the 2014 Tax Year.
Since the inception of Erie FREE Taxes 8 years ago, more than $43.7M in federal refund dollars have been returned to Erie County through program volunteer efforts. When added to estimated tax filer savings due to the free service, the 8-year, cumulative, program value of United Way Erie FREE Taxes is $49.6M.