Weekly INBrief: January 20, 2021

Wednesday Jan 20th, 2021

Weekly INBrief  2

Lessons Learned For 2021 Erie Free Tax Preparation

When the pandemic reached Erie last March, all 16 United Way Erie FREE Taxes VITA sites were closed. Thousands of people had pending appointments that had to be cancelled. When restrictions were lifted and the tax filing date extended to July, appointments were prioritized based on who would be receiving larger refunds of $100 or more.  According to Cheryl Bates, Erie FREE Taxes program director, $100 can be a significant refund for someone with a limited income.

Bates also explained that the pandemic exposed the human element side of working with economically and socially underserved families. “Through United Way Erie FREE Taxeswe were able to learn how the existence of COVID-19 was impacting the lives of the people we were serving,” Bates said. Filers were expressing their concerns and hardships during this extremely challenging time. This re-enforced to our tax preparers how Erie FREE Taxes aligns with United Ways mission of being social impact organization. 

This year, in addition to face-to-face tax filing sessions, EFT offers drop off service, online self-preparation tax filing through and, new this year, remote tax filing service. 

Scheduling began on January 11 and appointments will begin on January 25 at one of 14 site locations throughout Erie County. If you are interested in learning more about the program or referring someone who may want to make an appointment, please visit

Erie FREE Taxes Outcome HighlightsScreen Shot 2021 01 15 at 8.52.35 AMWatch the 2021 Erie FREE Taxes PSA 

United Way has launched a new PSA regarding the Erie FREE Taxes program. Watch it now