Income Tax Assistance

United Way's Financial Empowerment Zone provides free tax preparation services, case management help with enrollment in income supports and financial literacy workshops to increase the financial stability among lower-income working families in Passaic County.

FEZ is working to reach unbanked households in Paterson and the surrounding communities as many of our residents use alternative financial service providers (AFSPs) - check cashing outlets, payday lenders, pawnshops, money transmittors, etc - to conduct some of their financial transactions. Families cannot achieve financial stability unless they have enough income to pay for today’s necessities and save for the future. Prolonged poverty leads to health concerns, to disruptions in housing, and family problems.

Our goal is to increase the number of families who are able to meet their basic needs and increase their financial stability.

2016 Tax Filing Season

During United Way of Passaic County's 2016 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, more than 50 volunteer preparers completed  tax returns resulting in a $1,959,086 investment through tax refunds in Passaic and Bergen counties. Through combined efforts with My Free Taxes, a free online filing service, the number of returns increased over last year by nearly 20%.


Clients Statistics:  
Clients Served:
EIC Dollars returned
CTC dollars returned
saved in preparation fees

The earned income tax  credit helps to lift more  families out of poverty each year around tax filing  season. EIC rewards the  working poor and puts money back into the clients hands, and therefore the community. 34% of our clients received the Earned Income Tax Credit.  The average annual income of our clients was $19,373.

Importance of VITA 
Randy Allen, Director of Community Impact for United Way, said, "United Way's VITA partnership supports financial stability by allowing tax payers to keep the full amount of their return. In most cases, tax payers reinvest those dollars back into their community through increased savings, bill pay and purchases in their community. We are thankful for the partners who helped make the 2016 VITA Program a success."


This past tax filing season we had a wonderful and dedicated group of volunteers.  They were the reason we were able to serve as many clients as we did.  We want to take the time to thank the volunteers for their hard work and time. We are actively recruiting new volunteers for next year.  If you are interested in being trained in tax law and then volunteering please contact

For other volunteer opportunities visit: