Orange County United Way’s OC Free Tax Prep program served more than 14,000 clients throughout Orange County this year – playing a vital role in assisting individuals and families in keeping their hard-earned money after a particularly challenging financial year.
A Snapshot of 2022 Outcomes
- More than 14,000 clients served throughout Orange County
- $16.5 million in federal and state refunds issued, including more than $3.1 million in federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC)
- $2.8 million saved in tax preparation fees
- Total local impact of $19.3 million
Orange County United Way partnered with 25 local organizations and hosted more than 557 free tax preparation events throughout the county to help eligible taxpayers (households earning less than $60k a year) file their taxes free of charge and assess their qualification for federal and California EITC. More than 20,817 volunteer hours were contributed.
“We’re proud to be able to offer OC Free Tax Prep services to low-income Orange County individuals and families at a time when it is needed most,” said Susan B. Parks, President, and CEO of Orange County United Way. “We want nothing more than to see our Orange County neighbors keep more of their hard-earned money. These refunds and credits often bolster a struggling family’s ability to provide for their children, help pay for essential items and necessities, and positively impact their financial health.”
Each year, Orange County United Way hosts and staffs a toll-free tax appointment line and received 8,605 calls this season. The organization leads and funds the coalition, coordinates volunteer recruitment and training, and distributes countywide informational materials. Throughout the county, taxpayers saved an estimated $2.8 million on tax preparation.
OC Free Tax Prep client and single-mother Melissa faced unemployment in 2021 due to the pandemic, before transitioning into a new field of work as an elementary school instructional aide. When it came time to do her taxes, she needed personalized assistance and a way to save on tax preparation fees. With the help of VITA volunteers, Melissa received a substantial tax refund totaling more than $6,000.
“Filing taxes through OC Free Tax Prep was super straightforward and easy. The volunteers spent time with me, allowed me to ask questions, and helped me figure out how to get the most money back. This money will allow me to take care of my son and make sure he has everything he needs,” said Melissa. She was also able to put some of the money into a summer savings account as her job as an aide doesn’t apply to the summer months.
The OC Free Tax Prep program is part of Orange County United Way’s United for Financial Security initiative to increase the number of financially stable families in Orange County and break the cycle of poverty.
For more information about OC Free Tax Prep, please visit: https://ocfreetaxprep.com/.
ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY UNITED WAY
Orange County United Way is committed to leading the fight for equity by breaking barriers, closing gaps, and leveling the playing field for everyone who lives here. More than a fundraiser, we’re hands-on, delivering 50+ programs countywide to improve lives in our community. Every day, we are working to advance the Education, Health, Housing and Financial Stability of people in Orange County. We are working to ensure our students succeed, our struggling families gain financial security, and our homeless neighbors find a place to call home. We step up to actively address the critical issues facing our community and we go the extra mile to make sure our residents have the support they need. We genuinely care for one another. That’s The OC Way.
To learn more or discover how you can help, visit UnitedWayOC.org.
Orange County United Way is a standalone, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.