2020 looked like any other year for 2-1-1s helping link callers to tax preparation assistance. Until COVID-19, that is. Less than a week after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Federal Government extended the deadline for filing tax returns until July 15, 2020. As the chart shows, the effect of the federal extension is clear. Requests to 2-1-1s for tax preparation assistance, usually thousands per day between January and mid-April, immediately dropped to a fraction of that. Now, with the new deadline about three weeks away, requests seem to be picking up again. Income tax refunds provide vital resources for many low-income working individuals and families and 2-1-1s are a central source for assistance with tax returns. Today’s chart compares tax assistance requests per day in 2019 (shown in blue) and 2020 (orange). Mouse over each line to see number of requests per day. We analyzed 360,412 requests received by 2-1-1s in 29 states, from January 1 to June 21, 2019 and 2020. Data shown are a 7-day moving average to account for the leap-year difference in number of days in 2019 and 2020. States in this analysis include: AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, WI and WY.
Contributors: Cindy Charles, Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter