Free tax help – and possibly a sizable tax refund – is now available for moderate-income taxpayers, part of a communitywide effort sponsored jointly by United Way, the city of Sacramento, the IRS, the state Franchise Tax Board, and various banks and community groups.
It’s a combination of a new website, www.KeepYourTaxRefund.com, and a series of “Super Saturday” free tax-preparation events.
Part of the effort is to help more low- and moderate-income working adults – those who earned $51,500 or less last year – apply for the federal earned income tax credit, known as the EITC. Intended to give working adults a boost, it’s a refundable tax credit, meaning it’s available to eligible taxpayers even if they don’t owe taxes.
Last year, more than 118,000 Sacramento County tax returns received the EITC, with an average about $2,360, according to the IRS.
“It is definitely well worth the taxpayer’s time to check on their (EITC) eligibility,” said IRS spokesman David Tucker in an email. “One in five who are eligible for EITC don’t claim this refundable credit. We hope to change that.” Taxpayers can check their EITC eligibility online at the IRS website.
Locally, KeepYourTaxRefund.com offers free, online tax-filing help for those with incomes below $58,000 a year. Those earning above that amount pay less than $50 to file their return. The website, which uses H&R Block software, saves users an average of $200 in tax preparation fees, according to United Way California Capital Region spokeswoman Amber Lovett.
Free tax help is also available at various “Super Saturday” sites, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., including this weekend. In Sacramento and Yolo counties, the Super Saturday locations are:
• Saturday: Hiram Johnson High School, 6879 14th Ave., Sacramento; Woodland High School library, 21 N. West St., Woodland.
• Feb. 22: Mexican Consulate, 2093 Arena Blvd., Sacramento; Winters Community Library, 708 Railroad Ave., Winters.
• March 8: Grant Union High School, 1400 Grand Ave., Sacramento.
• April 5: Samuel Pannell Community Center, 2450 Meadowview Road, Sacramento.
• April 12: Sacramento Food Bank, 3308 Third Ave., Sacramento; Pioneer High School library, 1400 Pioneer Ave., Woodland.
An appointment is required. For Sacramento county sites, call 211. For Yolo County sites, call (530) 406-7221. If married filing jointly, both spouses must attend.
In addition to Super Saturday events, free tax-preparation help is offered daily until April 15 at numerous community sites in Sacramento, Davis, Woodland and other cities through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. Both provide free help to those with incomes below $52,000. Some sites offer tax help in Spanish, Cantonese, Russian, Tagalog and Vietnamese languages.
To find a VITA or TCE site near you, search by ZIP code at www.irs.gov or call (800) 906-9887.
Call The Bee’s Claudia Buck, (916) 321-1968.