Erie Free Taxes


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a special tax benefit for working people who earn low to moderate incomes. It is a refundable federal tax credit that reduces or eliminates their income taxes. If the amount of tax credit the worker qualifies for is more than taxes he/she owes, the worker will receive the difference as a cash refund. The EITC allows working families and individuals to keep more of the money they work so hard to earn.

United Way Erie Free Taxes is a program established to help eligible low to moderate income wage earners claim the federal EITC by providing them with free federal, state and local tax preparation by IRS -certified volunteers at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in various city and county locations. VITA works to ensure that eligible tax filers receive all their tax credits and deductions, including the Child Tax Credit, Education Tax Credit and Child Care tax deductions.

Additional services provided by Erie Free Taxes: Community Outreach and education regarding the benefits of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, and financial literacy and asset management education and counseling.


You may be eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit if:

  •  Your 2018 earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) are less than $55,000
  • You have a qualifying child, defined as son, daughter, grandchild, stepchild or adopted child, brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister (and their descendents) foster child place with the worker by a government or private agency
  • Child is under age 19, or under 24 if a full-time student, or any age if totally and permanently disabled
  • Child must live with the worker in the U.S. for more than half the tax year

Income Earned During 2018:

  • Your tax year investment income must be $3,500 or less for the year.
  • Must not file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
  • Your total earned income must be at least $1.
  • Both your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must be no more than:
Filing Status Qualifying Children Claimed
Zero One Two Three or more
Single, Head of Household or Surviving Spouse $15,270 $40,320 $45,802 $49,194
Married Filing Jointly $20,950 $46,010 $51,492 $54,884

Tax Year 2018 Maximum Credit

  • $6,431 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,716 with two qualifying children
  • $3,461 with one qualifying child
  • $519 with no qualifying children


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites

  • Free income tax filing services for households with incomes of $54,000 or less
  • Federal, state and local tax returns are completed by trained and IRS certified volunteers at VITA sites located throughout the city and county of Erie.
  • Income tax returns are filed electronically at all VITA sites.
  • Savings opportunities.

Drop Off Service

Drop Off Service is a free service that allows you to bring your tax information to one of several designated Erie FREE Taxes locations and return a few days later to review, sign, and receive copies of your completed returns. No need to wait while your tax returns are being prepared.

Call 1-888-829-5680 for a list of VITA and Drop Off Service sites and schedules or download a copy here – Erie Free Taxes 2017-2018 Outreach Brochure

Want To Do Your Own Taxes?

If your income is $66,000 or less, you can use MyFreeTaxes to complete your own federal and state income tax returns online and without cost. To use MyFreeTaxes, simply go to and click on the MyFreeTaxes icon.  Certified tax preparers are available by phone or email to answer any tax related questions you may have.


  • Volunteers prepare basic and intermediate-level tax returns
  • Volunteers do not need a background in finance, business, or accounting
  • This is a wonderful opportunity to help people in a way that improves quality of life for individuals, families, and the community

Through the awareness, education, and the use of free tax preparation sites we will succeed in bringing the benefits of the EITC to our community.

If you are interested in learning more about the VITA volunteer experience, please contact:

Cheryl Bates, Program Director
Erie FREE Taxes
814-456-2937, ext. 236