Insights > A Decade of Results: Entergy’s Super Tax Day a Game Changer for Working Families
A Decade of Results: Entergy’s Super Tax Day a Game Changer for Working Families
Entergy and partners helped customers claim nearly $260 million in EITC refunds
The 2019 tax season represented a milestone in Entergy’s efforts to help low-income customers break the cycle of poverty. Ten years ago, Entergy began sponsoring free Super Tax Day events to help qualifying customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. Since 2009, Entergy’s signature poverty-elimination program has helped nearly 150,000 working families receive $258 million in EITC refunds.
“At Entergy, our vision ‘We Power Life’ means working together to improve lives, create opportunities, strengthen communities and proactively find solutions for customers facing economic challenges,” said Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault. “By supporting Super Tax Day, Entergy and our partners are not only extending a helping hand to working families but also investing in a brighter future for our communities.”
The federal EITC program is one of the nation’s most effective tools for lifting low-income workers and their families above the poverty line. The Internal Revenue Service reported that the EITC and Child Tax Credit together lift more than 9 million people out of poverty each year, including 5 million children — more than any other federal program besides Social Security.
Entergy and its Super Tax Day partners have tracked a number of success stories that demonstrate the program’s impact. With free tax assistance and EITC refunds, many customers have been able to become first-time homeowners, establish savings accounts, repair credit, pursue education and accomplish other goals that help build generational wealth and financial stability.
“The work Entergy has done with our Super Tax Day partners has been life-changing for customers and communities,” said Patty Riddlebarger, Entergy’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “Through the years, we’ve expanded our partnership networks to serve more customers at more Voluntary Income Tax Assistance sites, and we continue seeing the positive difference it makes for families who qualify for the EITC program.”
Entergy began supporting Super Tax Day events in 2005 and started tracking results in select locations a few years later. Entergy launched the first Super Tax Day campaign throughout its service area in 2011, when around 9,600 customers received close to $13 million in EITC refunds. Within two years, the number of returns and refund amounts nearly doubled as Entergy grew its Super Tax Day efforts and partnership networks.
Growth has been steady ever since, with total annual refunds exceeding approximately $30 million and total returns topping 18,000. The company sponsors some 300 VITA sites where customers across its four-state service area can receive free tax prep services. In 2019, Super Tax Day events helped generate almost $34 million in total refunds for 18,583 qualifying customers.
Entergy also worked with partners to expand the services available on Super Tax Day, such as financial coaching, budget workshops, free legal services, drop-off tax prep services and more. Participating banks have helped customers open savings accounts onsite at some of the VITA locations. Additionally, incentives such as scratch-off cards with cash prizes have been effective in encouraging customers to save a portion of their refunds.
Employee support has been a driving force in the growth of Super Tax Day. Entergy offers IRS-certified training for volunteers who staff VITA sites throughout tax season and during annual Super Tax Day events. This year, 124 Entergy employees logged close to 3,500 volunteer hours helping customers file taxes and claim the EITC.
“Our efforts wouldn’t be possible without the participation and enthusiasm of employees,” said Liz Brister, Entergy's manager of low-income programs. “Nearly 80 were certified tax preparers this year, and many others served in a variety of support roles. The amount of preparation and teamwork that goes into our Super Tax Day events is truly amazing and a testament to Entergy’s leadership in the communities we serve.”
To find out more about Super Tax Day, locate nearby VITA sites and learn about qualifications and documents needed, customers can visit entergy.com/freetaxhelp.