Free Tax Help Across Sacramento Region Through United Way

VITA volunteer helps a local resident file her taxes through United Way-led programs

Local households throughout the Sacramento region that earned $54,000 or less in 2017 can receive free tax help in person through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) effort led by United Way California Capital Region with support from Citi Community Development. The program will kick off at the first Super Saturday event on Jan. 27 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. For more Super Saturday events and weekday sites available during tax season, call (916) 498-1000 or visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/FreeTaxPrep. Sacramento residents can call 2-1-1.

“We want to make sure more Sacramento-area households are financially healthy, and that starts with not spending unnecessary money on tax preparation and making sure they receive all of the refunds to which they are entitled,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO.

Through VITA, the national IRS program that offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns, local IRS-certified volunteers will help Sacramento-region households claim tax credits, including federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. This year, more households are eligible to earn up to $6,500 in federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits, including those who are self-employed. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, however if they do file, they can claim the state and federal credits for which they are eligible. Those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed until Feb. 27.

“We want to encourage people to plan ahead for this delay instead of using refund advance products that can end up being very costly in the long run,” Bray said. “And don’t pay a preparer if you qualify for free VITA services. You won’t receive your refund sooner.”

Local households that made $66,000 or less in 2017 can file state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provides households with free tax help they can trust so they can maximize refunds and credits. As with VITA, the site helps people save an average of $200 in preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address, income forms and Adjusted Gross Income from 2017.

Funding support from Citi Community Development will enable United Way California Capital Region to increase capacity and reach of the local VITA program to meet additional need and demand over the next two years. The funding will help expand the number of sites offering free tax preparation and increase the number of volunteer tax preparers.

“Nearly 20 percent of households in the Sacramento region are living on low incomes, and nearly half lack the savings to sustain an unexpected shock to income,” said Vicki Joseph, Northern California market manager for Citi Community Development. “By expanding access to free tax preparation services, United Way is enabling more families in need to benefit from this vital tax credit and help build their financial resiliency.”

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2018 free tax preparation programs include U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union and SMUD. For a list of collaborating partners, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these free tax preparation programs as part of its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, the group harnesses Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all. For more information: CitiCommunityDevelopment.com, @Citi on Twitter, YouTube.com/Citi, http://Blog.Citi.com, Facebook.com/Citi and LinkedIn.com/company/citi.

 

 

Free Tax Help for Sacramento and Placer Families

VITA volunteer helps a local resident file her taxes through United Way-led programs

Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2016 can receive free tax help in person through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance effort led by United Way California Capital Region in Sacramento and Placer counties. The program will kick off with a Super Saturday event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers will inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify, such as the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

For information and a list of Super Saturday events and weekday tax help sites, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA or call (916) 498-1000. Sacramento residents can call 2-1-1. VITA is a national IRS program that offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns.

Local households that made $64,000 or less in 2016 can qualify to file their state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provides local residents with free, easy tax help they can trust so they can maximize refunds and credits. The site helps people save an average of $200 in tax preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address and income forms. The nine-year-old program is available in all 50 states.

“We want to make sure more Sacramento-area households are financially healthy, and that starts with not spending unnecessary money on tax preparation and making sure they receive all of the refunds to which they are entitled,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO.

Both the in-person and online filing opportunities are designed to help households receive the maximum credit of $6,000 through EITC and Cal EITC. This is the second year that California is offering a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, however if they do file, they can claim state and federal EITC credits for which they are eligible. Those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or the Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed, as a law requires the IRS to hold those refunds until Feb. 15.

“We want to encourage people to plan ahead for this delay instead of signing a refund anticipation loan that will end up being very costly in the long run,” Bray said. “And don’t pay a preparer if you qualify for free services. You won’t receive your refund sooner.”

Sponsors of United Way’s tax help programs include the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, United Way California Capital Region and Wells Fargo. For a list of partners, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these tax help programs to ensure more households are financially healthy. This work is part of United Way’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

United Way Helps Sacramento Claim $5 Million This Tax Season

VITA volunteer helps a local resident file her taxes through United Way-led programs

Nearly 5,000 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way-led free tax programs this year, resulting in more than $5 million in money claimed and saved through the Earned Income Tax Credit, other credits and refunds, and lack of tax preparation fees. The in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, led by United Way California Capital Region in this area, helped 3,710 local households. The first 150 who placed part or all of their refund in their own savings accounts earned a $10 gift card sponsored by SAFE Credit Union. United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com helped 983 users file taxes with an average refund of $1,433.

“One of the first steps to becoming financially stable is avoiding spending unnecessary money and taking advantage of benefits available,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO. “These tax programs gave people the chance to avoid tax prep fees and apply for credits. This community did a fantastic job of coming together to ensure as much money stayed in our region as possible.”

Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2015 were eligible to receive free tax help in person through the the local VITA coalition led by United Way. IRS-certified volunteers provided free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers informed taxpayers about special tax credits for which they might qualify, such as the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA is a national IRS program and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns.

The 150 filers who qualified for the SAFE gift card promotion collectively saved $186,307 – an average of $1,242 per saver – from their refunds in their own savings accounts or by purchasing savings bonds through VITA.

Local households that made $62,000 or less in 2015 qualified to file their state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, thanks to a a national partnership between United Way, Goodwill Industries and the National Disability Institute. The website guided users through federal and state filing using software powered by H&R Block.

Both the in-person and online filing opportunities were designed to help households receive the maximum Earned Income Tax Credits of $6,000, available federally and through the state. This is the first year that California offered a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families, increase use of the federal credit and increase availability of free tax preparation services.

United Way California Capital Region is leading the local efforts for VITA and MyFreeTaxes.com as part of its work to ensure more households in the capital region are financially healthy. Partners include California State Board of Equalization, City of Sacramento, Community Housing Opportunities Corporation, County of Placer Health and Human Services, Folsom Cordova Community Partnership, Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada, Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, SEIU Local 1000, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Grant Union High School, Hiram Johnson High School and the State of California Franchise Tax Board. Sponsors include Citi Community Development, First Northern Bank, Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, United Way California Capital Region and Wells Fargo.

For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought people together to meet pressing needs in the Sacramento region and has changed the lives of hundreds of children, families and adults. Now United Way is mobilizing nonprofits, companies, schools, government and individuals across the region, state and country to make a collective impact in the areas of education, financial stability and health in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

Free Tax Help Available for Sacramento Families

Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2015 can receive free tax help in person through the Sacramento Coalition for Working Families, the local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance effort led by United Way. The program will kick off with a Super Saturday event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 30 at Grant Union High School, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers will inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify, such as the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. For more information, a list of other Super Saturday events and weekday tax help sites in Sacramento County, visit yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA, or call (916) 498-1000 or 2-1-1.

VITA is a national IRS program and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns.

Local households that made $62,000 or less in 2015 can qualify to file their state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, thanks to a a national partnership between United Way, Goodwill Industries and the National Disability Institute. MyFreeTaxes.com helps people save an average of $200 in tax preparer fees. The website guides users through federal and state filing using software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address and income forms. The eight-year-old program is available in all 50 states.

“We want to make sure as many households as possible in the Sacramento area are financially stable, and that starts with not spending unnecessary money on tax preparation and making sure they receive the maximum refund to which they are entitled,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO.

Both the in-person and online filing opportunities are designed to help households receive the maximum Earned Income Tax Credits of $6,000, now available federally and through the state. This is the first year that California is offering a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families, increase use of the federal credit and increase availability of free tax preparation services.

United Way California Capital Region is leading the Sacramento Coalition for Working Families as part of its work to ensure more households in the capital region are financially stable and self-sufficient. Partners include California State Board of Equalization, City of Sacramento, Community Housing Opportunities Corporation, Folsom Cordova Community Partnership, Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada, Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, SEIU Local 1000, SAFE Credit Union, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Grant Union High School, Hiram Johnson High School and the State of California Franchise Tax Board. Sponsors include Citi Community Development, First Northern Bank, Internal Revenue Service, SMUD, United Way California Capital Region and Wells Fargo.

For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought people together to meet pressing needs in the Sacramento region and has changed the lives of hundreds of children, families and adults. Now United Way is mobilizing nonprofits, companies, schools, government and individuals across the region, state and country to make a collective impact in the areas of education, financial stability and health in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.