Year-end is a great time to review important financial plans and documents. There are many tax changes being proposed now that may be in effect next year.

  • Review your projected income (including gains), deductions, and credits for this year and next and consider whether you can time your income, deductions, and credits in a way that minimizes your income taxes.
  • Review your will, trusts and plans. Ensure that you are still comfortable with your bequests and dispositions, executors, trustees, and guardians. Additionally:
    • Review the agents named under your financial and medical powers of attorney to ensure that they are still appropriate.
    • Review living wills and verify that you are comfortable with the healthcare and end-of-life-related instructions that you previously made.
    • It’s also important to communicate the location and intention of your estate planning documents with the appropriate individuals.
  • Check your beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies to ensure they reflect your wishes.
  • Maximize your IRA contributions (You can make 2021 contributions to traditional IRAs or Roth IRAs until April 15, 2022. Check contribution limit amounts.)
  • Take your required distributions (RMDs) from your IRAs (generally 72 yrs.) and make any Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs).

Charitable Giving

  • Make year-end gifts to charities, Donor Advised Funds or Private Foundations.
  • Consider if assets are an option to donate (QCDs, stocks, real estate, etc.) before December 31, 2021.

Please check with your tax professional for guidance on best actions for your life circumstances.

To learn more about how your gifts can make a lasting impact at United Way of Greater Atlanta, contact Eve Powell at

Happy New Year! As tax season approaches and you plan your contributions for 2021, be sure to review the key components in the fiscal stimulus that impact charitable giving.

1. People who make smaller gifts will be able to deduct them up to $300

Presently, only those who itemize their income tax deductions are able to use a charitable deduction. For 2020 and 2021, an individual will be able to deduct up to $300 cash donations, irrespective of whether or not they itemize their deductions. It is now $600 per couple for 2021.

2. People who make larger gifts will be able to deduct a much higher amount

Under current law, an individual may deduct up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) for charitable deductions of cash. The stimulus package lifts that restriction, so that an individual can make a gift only of cash (so once again not stock) and deduct it up to 100% of their AGI for the year 2020 and 2021. This is an election, so the donor who wants to use this provision must tell the IRS.

3. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for IRA’s are back

The CARES Act gave savers the ability to skip RMDs in 2020. In 2021, RMDs are in back force. Unless you have a Roth IRA, you’re obligated to remove a portion of your account balance each year once you turn 72. You may find that this year’s RMD is higher than expected. RMDs are based on your life expectancy as well as the amount of money you have in your retirement plan. If you didn’t take an RMD in 2020, you may have a higher balance going into 2021, leaving you on track for a larger withdrawal and more taxes. You can make a gift to a charitable organization up to $100,000 annually tax free while qualifying for an RMD.

4. IRA beneficiary v. gift in a will

Many people like to include a charitable gift in their will to support a cause that has been important in their lives. One tax smart strategy is to leave part of an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) account to a nonprofit. It’s easy to change account beneficiaries by contacting the financial institution. Why is this smart? Because heirs pay income taxes on this money. Starting this year, heirs (except spouses) must take out all funds (and pay taxes) within 10 years of inheriting, but any part left to a nonprofit avoids these taxes. Therefore, if you plan to include a nonprofit in your will, use these accounts first.

We recommend that you consult your accountant and/or financial advisor before taking any action on the methods listed here. Your individual financial situation will determine the best course of action for you.

Updated May 18, 2021

United Way of Greater Atlanta provides free tax preparation services to the community through a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides Greater Atlanta’s working individuals and families free tax prep to low-to-moderate income ($57,000 and under). Taxes are prepared by IRS trained and certified volunteers. We want you to keep ALL your tax refund. Why pay $250 – $500 to get your taxes prepared when you can have them prepared by an IRS certified Volunteer for FREE!

This year, filing your taxes is more important than ever. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit for low and moderate-income wage earners. For the 2021 tax year, the earned income credit ranges from $543 to $6,728 depending on tax-filing status and number of children. Learn how much you can receive using the EITC Assistant.

This year, due to CDC guidelines for COVID-19, VITA is serving Greater Atlanta with free virtual tax prep opportunities as well as free limited in-person tax prep, by appointment only. You can also do it yourself with help from an IRS-Certified Volunteer.

Choose the Filing Option That Works Best for You

Get Your Refund

  • Free Virtually Tax Prep by a certified IRS Volunteer at
  • Online, mobile-friendly application connecting tax filers with free, IRS-certified tax help.
  • Anyone with a household income of $57,000 a year or less is eligible.
  • IRS-certified volunteers work with you to prepare and file your State and Federal tax returns.

My Free Taxes

  • Do It Yourself Virtual Free Tax Prep at
  • Do it yourself (with help if needed)! Prepare and file your own State and Federal tax return for Free.
  • Tax help available if needed from an IRS-certified Volunteer if your income is $57,000 a year or less.
  • Free and secure software. Learn more.

Local VITA Tax Prep Site

  • By appointment only. Email for more information.

Required Documents

View our checklist to see all documents required to file your taxes. If you are missing a document, follow the links in the checklist to obtain a copy.


Need additional information? Contact

Save Taxes by Making a Gift of Stock

Did you know that you can avoid capital gains taxes and support United Way of Greater Atlanta at the same time by making a gift of appreciated stock?

You may know that donating stock to your favorite non-profit is an effective way to save on capital gains taxes. If you sell your stock, you will forfeit a portion of the proceeds to taxes. One easy way to help United Way’s mission — and your finances — is to make a gift of appreciated stock (securities that have been held for longer than one year).

When you donate stock, you are unburdening yourself of future taxes that are embedded in the stock, so you can give more, and still have your gift “cost” less.

But what if you want to keep a specific company’s stocks in your portfolio? You can make a gift of your appreciated stock now and purchase identical shares to replace what you donated. This technique allows you to maximize your giving:

  • avoid capital gains taxes;
  • keep your portfolio intact;
  • and give back to your community.

To make the gift: Inform your broker and United Way’s team of your desire to make a transfer. You will need to send a completed broker transfer form or written instructions to your broker specifying that you wish to make a charitable contribution to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Your transfer instruction document should include:

  1. The issuer of the securities (type of stock) and/or ticker symbol.
  2. The number of shares (or the minimum gift value).
  3. Transfer to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Charles Schwab account: AM-8991-5184, DTC 0164 code 40. United Way’s federal tax identification number is #58-0566194. Broker: Dan White at 404-724-2469; Email:
  4. Specifically request that the donor’s first and last names are transferred with the details.
  5. Notify Louise Davenport at 404.527.7262 or email accountsreceivable@unitedwayatlanta.orgof your stock transfer.  United Way’s federal tax identification number is #58-0566194.

United Way of Greater Atlanta is involved in helping people improve their financial stability by connecting them with financial coaching, financial education, job training and free tax filing.

  • United Way’s free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides Greater Atlanta’s working individuals and families help to simplify the tax filing process and claim important tax credits. VITA is a national initiative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that offers FREE tax help to low- to moderate-income ($56,000 and under) individuals and families. Taxes are prepared in–person by IRS trained and certified volunteers.
  • VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, churches, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. To find a VITA site near you, click here or call 2-1-1.
  • If you’re over the age of 50, you can get one-on-one assistance by IRS-certified volunteers at 5,000 Tax-Aide sites run by AARP. Tax-Aide site are in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers. There’s no fee and no sales pitch for other services. AARP membership is not required. Find a location near you.If you earn less than $69,000, you can file for free through IRS Free File, a partnership between the agency and the Free File Alliance, a group of private preparers. Click here for more details on the program. Each company has a slightly different free offering, so be sure to read the eligibility requirements to make sure you can file your state return free of charge as well. A number of companies will prepare a state return and e-file it at no cost through partnerships with participating state programs.If your income is more than $69,000, you can use the Free Fillable File Forms, an electronic versions of IRS paper forms. But that doesn’t include the software help available through Free File.
  • If you’re in the military, you can use MilTax, a service provided by the Department of Defense that uses a version of H&R Block’s tax software. It’s free to active-duty service members, those in the National Guard or Reserves, and their families. There are no income or tax form restrictions.
  • For people who have W-2 income only and a simple return, you can file federal and up to three state returns for free online with MyFreeTaxes®. is a partnership between United Way and H&R Block. Simple tax situations covered for free in MyFreeTaxes include: W-2 income; limited interest and dividend income reported on a 1099-INT or 1099-DIV; student education expenses, credits or student loan interest; unemployment income; claiming the standard deduction; EITC; child tax credits; child and dependent care expenses.You can also take advantage of helpful tools such as calculators, error checkers and online chats, plus a free help line operating daily from 10 am-10 pm ET with IRS-trained staff who speak both English and Spanish.

    Unfortunately, MyFreeTaxes no longer provides a free return to filers who are self-employed. Self-employed filers will need to report all of their income and expenses on a Schedule C form, which is not included in the MyFreeTaxes software. If you are self-employed, and wish to use MyFreeTaxes to file your taxes, you will be charged $24.99 for a federal return and $18.50 for each state return (a 50% discount on H&R Block’s usual fees).

United Way of Greater Atlanta is hosting a VITA Request for Application Orientation session designed to assist you with your VITA sub grant application.

The orientation will take place Thursday, August 23 from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Please take the time to review the application package thoroughly and come prepared to ask questions related to the application and/or process to become a VITA site.

If you plan to attend the session, please RSVP to

We thank you for your interest in VITA and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Don’t forget these important dates!

  • Applications Due: Friday, August 31, 2018 by 3:00 p.m.
  • Grant Period: October 31, 2018 to May 31, 2019
  • Grants Notification: October 31, 2018

Start planning now for year-end tax impact.

There are numerous ways to still save on taxes this year. Our end of the year checklist covers the most common ways to plan and save money.

1. Charitable contributions: Give before the end of the year and reduce your income taxes. Review your gifts to date to ensure you have given to the causes important to you and in the amounts you intend. Also check that you have proper receipts and documentation.

2. Flexible spending accounts: If you contribute to a Flexible Spending Account, make sure you have used all the money in the account. Now might be the time to have that medical procedure you have been delaying.

3. Mortgage Interest: You can pay your January mortgage payment early and add to your mortgage deduction this year. Just check with your accountant on how do to this.

4. State and local taxes: Call your accountant now to ask what state and local taxes may be paid in 2016 that will reduce your deferral income taxes for the same year.

5. Income tax withholding: After calculating your taxes for 2016, work with your accountant to see if you should adjust the withholding on your employers W-2 form.