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
Volunteer. The EKS/EITC effort needs more than 300 volunteers to help prepare taxes or assist at the sites. VITA volunteers receive free training and IRS certification. Training sessions are expected to begin in December and run through January. Class registration will begin soon. Many volunteers choose to learn through self-study rather than attending a class. Contact us as instructed below for details and to get on our mailing list for updates.
IMPORTANT UPDATE (Revised 11/16/2013): Are you interested in learning more about how you can become a tax prep volunteer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program? If so, please attend the VITA Volunteer Open House on Saturday, December 7th, from 10am – Noon. This event is ideal for NEW adult volunteers who want to learn about the impact of VITA, steps to become a volunteer, and tax training dates/options. You will have the opportunity to engage with Site Coordinators from all over the South Bay area and can sign up to receive updates from a specific site you want to volunteer at. The format of this event is drop-in—this means you can drop-in between 10am–Noon to get information about VITA and leave at anytime.
Register for this event at: vitaopenhouse.eventbrite.com.
In-class training for new volunteers begins in January. Registration for new volunteer basic classroom training will open shortly after the Open House on Sat. Dec. 7th.
In-class training for returning volunteers is offered on the following Saturdays: Dec. 14, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 18. This training is a single session 8-hour class, and returning volunteers may register for only ONE of the sessions. Space is limited, so registration for Returning Volunteer Training is available only to returning VITA volunteers. You can click on the Contact Form below to request more information about that.
Most volunteers go the self-study route and you are welcome to study and certify through the IRS VITA/TCE Central website: www.linklearncertification.com/d/
Give. Give a financial gift or in-kind donation of computer equipment and printers to support the campaign's success.
To learn about volunteer opportunities and for other inquiries use our contact form or call us at 408-345-4311.
Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED