UNHP’s Bronx Free Tax Preparation Program filed taxes for 1,501 people with 1,725 filed returns, trained 84 student volunteers, and delivered $1.9 million dollars of fee-free refunds back to the Bronx.
Working with our partners, Ariva and Fordham Bedford Community Services, UNHP provided 16 tax days at Refuge House and another 4 mobile tax days at local senior citizen housing complexes in our community.
The success of our program would not be possible without the help of our volunteers. 84 students volunteers participated in the program this year committing a total of 800 service hours. Most of our volunteers are business students from Manhattan College and Fordham University who participated in about 20 hours of training before filing tax returns for Bronx residents.
In addition to free, professional and accurate tax preparation, the UNHP Bronx Free Tax Program offered same day financial services on-site at Refuge House. Over 100 individuals received their credit report and were able to have a brief credit analysis on their tax day. 17 individuals opened bank accounts at Apple Bank for Savings or Spring Bank and 40 individuals were able to obtain or file through an ITIN. Each tax participant learned about the available services at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center and were able to schedule appointments for financial coaching, healthcare access or public benefits screening as well as sign up for financial education workshops.
UNHP filed 1,725 returns for $1.9 million in fee-free refunds. The average return was $1,433. UNHP tax program users continue to be low and very low-income Bronx residents; 89% of UNHP tax filers earn less than $30,000 and 56.8% earn less than $10,000. Tax day services were well used by our tax filers - 22 individuals submitted applications for SNAP, and 80 people received assistance around healthcare; 27 for pre-enrollment with a Marketplace Navigator and 53 for post enrollment problems with a Community Health Advocate. Over 100 filers obtained their credit report and a brief credit analysis. Many filers made appointments for other Resource Center Services such as Financial Coaching or the UNHP-sponsored NTFP five session Getting Ahead workshop.
Below are some of the photo highlights of our 2015 program. Photos by Dana Ullman.