United Way Partners to Offer Free Virtual Financial Counseling

United Way Partners to Offer Free Tax Preparation & Virtual Financial Counseling
Photo from unitedwaynashville.org

United Way of Greater Nashville is partnering to offer free virtual financial services as part of its crisis response efforts. Services include professional remote financial counseling sessions to all Davidson County residents and virtual free tax preparation services to individuals and households that earned less than $66,000 in 2019.

A partnership between United Way and the Mayor’s Office since 2013, the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center has offered free, one-on-one professional financial counseling to help clients manage bills, work through debt, establish and improve credit, create a budget, open a bank account and save for the future. Those services are now available via phone or video. To schedule a free virtual financial counseling session, visit fec.nashville.gov or call 615.748.3620

“Since the March tornadoes and the outbreak of COVID-19, people who have never asked for help—or needed to—are suddenly scrambling to navigate the complexities of social services,” said Samantha Williams, Financial Empowerment Center Network manager. “Dedicated employees who just months ago relied on steady income are unable to pay their bills. We owe it to our neighbors to provide as much relief as possible.”

In addition to virtual counseling sessions, the Financial Empowerment Center is expanding to offer a financial counselor on-call program, through which counselors can answer quick questions about budgeting, accessing unemployment, understanding credit and more in real time, without an appointment. Any Davidson County resident can call 615.748.3620 Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to speak with a counselor on-call. Services are free and confidential.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) free tax prep program is a partnership with United Way and the Internal Revenue Service that provides free tax preparation throughout Middle Tennessee. All VITA sites across Middle Tennessee have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19. To continue serving households that rely on free tax prep, United Way is now partnering to offer virtual tax assistance provided by IRS-certified tax preparers through a secure online portal. Simply fill out the  online form  at unitedwayfilefree.com on a smartphone or computer. Once taxpayers have answered all questions and uploaded required documents, they will receive an email with further instructions and to work with an IRS-certified tax preparer.

Since March 2013, the Financial Empowerment Center has helped more than 7,700 clients and held more than 22,000 individual counseling sessions, helping clients reduce debt by more than $14.2 million and increase savings by $2.9 million. In 2019, VITA volunteers completed more than 14,700 tax returns, bringing $19.8 million in tax refunds back into the community.

To learn more about the Financial Empowerment Center, visit unitedwaynashville.org/programs/financial-empowerment-center. To learn more about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance free tax prep program, visit unitedwayfilefree.com.