With only weeks left in the 2022 tax season, the Connect to Collect program through the University of Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science aims to connect Utah families with free tax preparation assistance so they can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit worth $1,502 for a single individual and $6,728 for families with children. Utahns can find out if they’re eligible for these credits by taking the EITC eligibility screener or by calling the Connect to Collect solutions hotline at 385-465-5172.
The Earned Income Tax Credit, enacted in 1975, is “a ladder to climb out of poverty and into the middle class” for working families. But some estimate that around 20% of eligible families do not claim the credit. In Utah, the percentage may be as high as 25%, meaning that Utah families may be leaving around $66.4 million in tax credits on the table every year. To help eligible families participate in the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Connect to Collect program, co-directed by University of Utah professors Lori Kowaleski-Jones and Norman Waitzman, connects families to free tax filing services, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
Connect to Collect began in 2020. For convenience, Connect to Collect volunteers meet with families in trusted settings, such as health care clinics, churches, and neighborhood schools. After assessing eligibility, the volunteers then connect the families to a nearby VITA tax preparer who can assist them with preparing and filing their tax returns at no cost, saving an average of $400 in tax preparation costs. VITA volunteers provide free tax preparation service to low-income and elderly taxpayers.
To learn more about the Connect to Collect (C2C) program please visit their website. Or call the C2C hotline at 385-465-5172. If your organization would be interested in becoming a trusted organization by sharing the C2C flyers with your constituents, please email the C2C program manager, Viridiana Najera (firstname.lastname@example.org).