Free Tax Services for Hardworking People
As part of our Income Strategy, United Way Silicon Valley partners with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), churches, nonprofits and other organizations to offer free tax assistance to local families and individuals. Many of these families qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax benefit for working families with low to moderate incomes. This tax credit improves financial stability for many local families who are working hard, but barely making it, by significantly boosting their annual incomes – nearly $6,000 for some families. The tax credit is also good for the local economy because these free tax sites help to bring millions of dollars in tax refunds to Santa Clara County each year. Learn more about the program (PDF).
2013: Our Most Successful Tax Season
The Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Coalition supported another successful tax season. Santa Clara County now has more than 50 VITA sites to serve our community. United Way Silicon Valley partnered with the IRS to host multiple training sessions for new and returning volunteer tax prepares. More than 250 volunteers were trained and deployed. In 2013, more local individuals and families received free tax preparation services than ever before, which means very precious dollars being returned to hard-working families in our community. In total, 6,803 taxpayers were served by the network of those Santa Clara County VITA sites this year. This compares to 6,096 taxpayers served in 2012. IRS statistics showed that total refunds were $8.02M. More than $4.58M of that amount was in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Care Tax Credits due to eligible low-income working families.
How You Can Help
Give. Give a financial gift or in-kind donation of computer equipment and printers to support the campaign's success.
Volunteer. The local EKS/EITC effort needs more than 300 volunteers to help prepare taxes or assist at the VITA sites. VITA volunteers receive free training and IRS certification. Every year, in-class training begins in December and runs through January. However, many volunteers choose to learn through self-study rather than attending a class.
IMPORTANT UPDATE (Revised 1/21/2014):
In December and January, over 300 new and returning VITA volunteers engaged in training or self-study in order to certify as volunteer tax preparers! These trained volunteers have committed to helping at VITA sites across the County during the entire 8-10 week period of the tax season.
At this point, if you are interested in becoming a VITA volunteer, you will need to go the self-study route and complete certification online. The VITA IRS website has the training information available online here. You can then go on to pass your certification test here. Once certified, you will be deployed out individually to the site that needs the most volunteers.
To find a VITA site nearest you, dial 2-1-1 to speak to a live Call Specialist or visit 211scc.org/vita to view a listing of Santa Clara County sites online.
Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED