Last month, the IRS began accepting federal income returns for the latest tax year that will continue through April 18, and three local groups are offering information on tax credits and free tax preparation services.
United Way of San Diego County (UWSD), 211 San Diego, and the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition will provide information on tax credits and free tax preparation services available to low- and moderate-income individuals and families in San Diego County.
“As we head into the third year of the pandemic, it’s more crucial than ever to continue supporting our San Diegans in need of financial support,” says Nancy L. Sasaki, President, and CEO of United Way of San Diego County. “These individuals and families need a helping hand to make ends meet during these uncertain times. By providing free tax preparation services to help them receive the federal and state tax credits they earned and deserve, we hope to provide them relief and reassurance. Through the EITC Coalition, we’re not only addressing family instability but also strengthening our communities by ending the deep disparities that exist.”
Considered the largest anti-poverty program in the nation, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit designed to reduce the tax burden on families. The EITC helps families and individuals that qualify reduce the taxes they owe or increase their refund so they can put more money toward rent, school tuition, utilities, groceries, and other expenses.
In 2021, Governor Newsom and the California State Legislature expanded the CalEITC and YCTC to all California tax filers, including undocumented Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers who meet the other eligibility criteria.
“In communities across San Diego, many of our neighbors face financial barriers that create obstacles to building and sustaining healthy lives. Cashback tax credits provide a critical, immediate financial boost to working families, but many people don’t even know they’re eligible,” said William York, President, and CEO of 211 San Diego. “As a longtime partner of the State of California and the EITC Coalition, we are committed to helping eligible families navigate the tax process and ensuring more equitable access to these credits that have the potential to set children and families up for success.”
In the partnership between UWSD, 211 San Diego, and the EITC Coalition, a total of $28,034,86 of federal and state tax refunds were returned to county individuals and families. About 15,556 individuals received free tax preparation assistance, helping to save clients over $2.9 million in tax preparation fees.
It was through the partnership that completed a total of 29,976 tax returns, which allowed 3,896 filers to claim a total of $6,945,963 from the federal EITC, 5,062 filers to claim a total of $998,857 from the CalEITC, and 3,236 filers to claim a total of $6,416,316 from the Young Child Tax Credit.
Individuals and families can call 2-1-1 to see if they qualify for the federal EITC and CTC, as well as the state CalEITC and YCTC. Those eligible for free tax preparation can call 211 to schedule an appointment. For more information about available tax credits, visit 211sandiego.org/taxes or call 2-1-1.
Members of the public may volunteer to help people file taxes, and training is available through Dreams for Change to become an IRS Certified Tax Preparer. For more information on how to get involved, visit dreamsforchange.org.