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.
2015: Our Most Successful Tax Season
The Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Coalition supported another successful tax season. Santa Clara County has more than 45 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 preparers. 501 amazing volunteers became certified and prepared taxes. In 2015, 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, 8,726 tax returns were completed by the network of those Santa Clara County VITA sites this year. This compares to 7,513 taxpayers served in 2014. IRS statistics showed that total refunds were $8.9M. More than $4.9M of that amount was in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credits due to eligible low-income working families. This program saves people from spending money on tax prep fees. If those taxpayers served this year had gone to professional paid preparers, they would have spent more than $1M in tax prep fees.
Thanks to Bank of the West, Citi Community Development, the Internal Revenue Service, Wells Fargo and several individual donors for their generous donations to our VITA work!
How You Can Help
Give. Give a financial gift or in-kind donation of newer computer equipment and printers to support the campaign's success. Donate now.
Volunteer. Each year, the local EKS/EITC effort needs more than 400 volunteers to help prepare taxes or assist at the VITA sites. VITA volunteers receive free training and IRS certification. In-class training begins in December and runs through January. However, many volunteers choose to learn through self-study rather than attending a class. Learn more here.
During the tax season, dial 2-1-1 to speak to a live Call Specialist or visit 211scc.org/VITA to view a listing VITA sites near you.
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