A collaborative effort between United Way Suncoast and the IRS drew the attention of Congresswoman Kathy Castor, popped up in the Twitter feed of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and earned coverage from several media outlets.
When two agencies team up to help families access dollars that can lift children out of poverty, it’s big news — including a story in the Tampa Bay Times.
The Advance Child Tax Credit initiative went into effect this summer, allowing qualified families with children to receive half of the tax credit in monthly allotments. Parents who file taxes may be eligible to receive up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6-17 through December.
But parents who hadn’t filed income taxes needed to be alerted to the new provision and file a return to receive the payments. That’s when United Way Suncoast and the IRS stepped in to provide two information sessions in late July. Community members met with IRS and United Way Suncoast experts at the Sulphur Springs Resource Center on July 23 and at the IRS Tampa office on July 24.
“It’s focusing on those individuals who do not need to file,” United Way Suncoast senior manager Margarita Perez told Spectrum Bay News 9. “That’s anyone who doesn’t meet the threshold to file, so we want to make sure they’re aware this is happening because we want to make sure they receive that credit.”
Attendees not only received advice about the child tax credit payments, but UWS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance volunteers were on hand to provide free tax preparation assistance.
The effort spurred Congresswoman Castor to visit the Sulphur Springs Resource Center during the session. WTVT-Ch. 13 covered her appearance.
“It’s free, it’s simple, there are folks here to walk them through it,” Congresswoman Kathy Castor told WTVT. “Eighty-three percent of children will benefit. It will lift thousands of children out of poverty.
“We know that there’s a large wealth gap, so this is kind of an equalizer that’s especially important coming out of the pandemic, where people are struggling with finding work and paying bills.”
Tampa was one of 15 cities in the nation to be chosen by the IRS to create a two-day program like this. UWS and IRS are considering teaming together for future sessions in Pinellas County.