Written by: Calina Nguyen, Marketing Coordinator
Helping Families Get Back On Their Feet
It’s a new year and the tax season is here! You may have thought about how you’ll tackle your taxes this year. Filing taxes may be a daunting task for many, but what if you are eligible to file taxes for free?
United Way of San Diego County convenes the San Diego County Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition which is comprised of over 22 community partner organizations dedicated to providing a clear pathway to tax assistance for families in our community, including County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, IRS, Dreams for Change, and 2-1-1 San Diego. This free tax preparation assistance makes it possible for low-to-moderate-income individuals and families to file their taxes for free and ensures that they receive important tax credits that can help put food on the table, pay rent and utilities, and cover other basic necessities such as clothing and supplies.
Every year, thousands of San Diegans are not aware that this service exists as a way to support them in filing their taxes. Collaborative efforts among EITC Coalition partners have helped many get back on the path to stability.
The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) help low- to moderate-income workers and families reduce the taxes they owe or increase their refund so they can put more money toward rent, school tuition, utilities, groceries, and other important expenses. The California EITC (CalEITC) and Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) are state credits that may give them even more money back on their taxes.
Last tax season, families served by the EITC Coalition received more than $28 million in federal and state refunds. In addition, 15,556 individuals received free tax preparation assistance. This has helped save over $2.9 million in tax preparation fees.
Here are some testimonials from EITC recipients about how the EITC Coalition helped them:
“For my family and myself, this refund is our Christmas. It means so much just to help get bills paid, new clothes and shoes for the kids, and other supplies they may need.”
“We are beyond excited to get this amount back since we will now be able to purchase and transport our child in a safe and reliable car.”
Can I File for Free?
Who is eligible?
- Individuals/families earning up to $57,500 per year can get free in-person or online tax assistance
- Individuals and families with incomes up to $30,000 may be eligible for the CalEITC and YCTC
- Individuals and families with incomes up to $57,500 may be eligible for the federal EITC and CTC
- Undocumented ITIN filers
What You’ll Need
- Photo ID
- Social Security Card or ITIN for yourself and any dependents
- Income documents, including any W2s or 1099s
- Bank account information for direct deposit
- School tuition or student loan interest statements
- Dates of health coverage for yourself and any dependents
Do you meet the eligibility requirements described above? Have you gathered the required documentation to file your taxes? If so, let’s get started on filing those taxes.
Call 2-1-1 or go to myfreetaxes.org to see if you qualify and to make an appointment. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) services are available in multiple languages. In-person and online assistance is available. COVID protocols, including drop-off and drive-up services, are available at select locations. If you don’t need tax preparation assistance, you can still file online for free if you qualify by going to myfreetaxes.org.