The Boston Tax Help Coalition (BTHC) continued to provide free, successful tax preparation and financial education services to thousands of Boston area taxpayers in 2023. BTHC partners saw a significant increase in taxpayers served this season as tax sites were finally able to resume in-person services following several tax seasons under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. During the 2023 tax season, BTHC prepared tax returns for 10,859 low-to-moderate income (LMI) Boston area taxpayers. This effort generated $17.2 million in tax refunds, including $6.3 million in Earned Income Tax Credits, returned directly to LMI taxpayers in Greater Boston. The average household served by BTHC received a $2,000 tax refund, providing LMI families with critical income to address a wide variety of financial needs.
This tremendous effort was carried out across 31 community based tax sites by a network of highly trained volunteer tax preparers and financial educators. In the 2023 tax season, 322 volunteers were recruited and managed by BTHC to power free tax work. The tireless work of hundreds of volunteers saved LMI Boston area families approximately $2.7 million in predatory, for-profit, tax preparation fees.
In addition to assisting thousands of Bostonians in receiving their maximum tax refunds, BTHC staff and volunteers provided credit advising and financial education to 1,303 tax clients in the form of the Financial Check-Up (FCU), up from 486 in 2022. The FCU is a light-touch credit advising session where a trained Financial Guide assists an individual taxpayer in understanding their current financial situation, including a review of an individual’s credit report and FICO score, a personalized one-year plan to help improve their credit, and relevant service referrals.
BTHC primarily serves LMI Boston area residents, with a priority focus on serving taxpayers with limited English proficiency (LEP) and taxpayers with a disability. In 2023, 18% of tax clients served had limited English proficiency and 12% of taxpayers self-identified as individuals with a disability. As racially, ethnically, and otherwise marginalized groups in Boston bear the burden of economic disparity, BTHC is proud to provide financial empowerment services to Boston’s Communities of Color; 85% of BTHC 2023 taxpayers are People of Color.
The 2023 tax season was a huge success for BTHC, and we look forward to further expanding and improving free tax services in the 2024 season. BTHC is currently recruiting volunteers for the 2024 Tax season. Bilingual volunteers are especially needed. There are two volunteer roles to choose from:
- Tax Preparers prepare taxes for low-moderate income taxpayers.
- Financial Guides analyze credit reports and review them with taxpayers, and can assist taxpayers in opening bank accounts, savings bonds, and retirement accounts.
If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers, please sign up here.