Free Tax Return Preparation

The 2021 tax season runs January 19 to April 15 at Just Harvest tax sites. If your family received less than $57,000 in 2020, you may be eligible for our free preparation assistance service.

Every year, Just Harvest helps low-income households file their income tax return and maximize their tax refund. Launched in 2003, Just Harvest’s free IRS-certified tax return preparation service, available at four Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in Allegheny County, is now one of the largest in the entire state.

Just Harvest also manages the Free Tax Preparation Coalition (sponsored by United Way of Southwestern PA), which provides free income tax return preparation throughout the region.

Many low-income people are eligible for tax credits and other refunds when they file their yearly tax return. For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs, and can increase a family’s annual income by as much as 45 percent. In 2014, the EITC brought over $167 million to 80,161 Allegheny County families.

Unfortunately, many people do not know about the tax credits they are entitled to, or they lose much of the refunds to commercial tax preparers in preparation fees and advance refund loans. We are committed to the idea that tax refund money should be kept by low-income workers and their families, not swallowed up by tax preparation fees.

In our record-breaking 2019 tax season, we completed 3,200+ returns and refunded $6.25+ million to low-income families! Of this, roughly $2.7 million was through the EITC and $1.7 million through Child Care Tax Credits. This fantastic work was made possible by 98 volunteers donating nearly 5,700 hours of service.

For those served, these tax refunds helped put food on the table, pay off debt, make rent or mortgage payments, and pay for heat and electricity during Pittsburgh’s winter months.

How to get free tax help safely during the pandemic

Virtual Tax Preparation

Stay home and enjoy the convenience of getting your taxes prepared and reviewed by our tax experts. Available in mid-January, use our secure website to submit your information and tax forms. Upload your materials using a smart phone, tablet, or computer; we will contact you by phone to complete your return.

Hybrid Tax Preparation

If technology isn’t for you, come to the tax site for two brief appointments to provide information and review your return. In between your appointments, your return will be prepared by one of our tax experts and you may be contacted over the phone to provide additional information. You must schedule two appointments for this method. Our tax sites have social distancing guidelines in place, and masks are required. See below for info on scheduling your appointments.

Interested in preparing your own return?

If you want to do your taxes yourself, we recommend Free File through Turbo Tax or to prepare your own federal and state taxes for free. If you’re using Turbo Tax, check out these basic instructions for using Turbo Tax before getting started.  Both sites will be available starting in mid-January. Please Note: Like all online tax filing platforms, these options are not as accurate as an IRS-certified assistant.

How to schedule your appointment

Appointment scheduling will begin on January 14th, 2021. Walk-ins are not permitted, so please call for an appointment.

There are three ways to schedule an appointment, available 24/7:

Just Harvest will operate FOUR of the United Way Free Tax Prep Coalition’s
13 free tax sites in Allegheny County from January 19 – April 15:

orange arrowWe will have foreign-language interpretation services available at our South Side site. Schedule a foreign-language tax appointment by dialing 2-1-1.

Just Harvest’s South Side office
Bedford Hope Center in the Hill District

SHIM Family Center in Baldwin

Monroeville Public Library

United Way of Southwestern PA Free Tax Prep

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