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Tax program offers free filing assistance for San Diegans

VITA program offers free income tax assistance for San Diegans

Income taxes are not something most of us want to think about, much less volunteer our free time for. But last year we had over 100 local volunteers sign up to do just that and we are hoping to have even more volunteers involved during the upcoming 2020 tax season. Volunteers go through sixteen hours of training to become certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to work in the Virtual Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an initiative of the IRS that provides free income tax filing assistance to low and moderate income taxpayers. At the same time, the program also provides hands-on experience for Accounting and Business Administration students from local universities and a way to give back to the community for San Diegans who choose to volunteer.

Last tax season, the IRC in San Diego’s VITA program volunteers completed more than 2,200 returns and helped our community receive more than $3.5 million in refunds.

Professional, Free Tax Service

Filing taxes is a daunting task for most individuals, and for refugees and other new Americans who are unfamiliar with the system the process can be even more overwhelming. Unfortunately, the risk of falling victim to predatory services is a reality many of these families face. To avoid paying unnecessary fees and ensure proper filing, the IRC in San Diego recommends that taxpayers:

  • Visit a reputable tax preparation service, such as a VITA site.
  • Never have funds deposited into a preparers account. Some providers will ask clients to have the funds deposited to the preparers account so they can collect their fees and then distribute the rest to the client.
  • Always get a copy of the completed tax return, with their signature and the preparer’s information on it.
  • Be aware that tax fraud can cause immigration troubles in the future.

The VITA tax program is completely free and is staffed by trained and certified volunteers and IRC staff.

Eligibility and Appointments

Taxpayers who worked and earned $57,000 or less are generally eligible. Refugee status is not a requirement for this program. To find out if you are eligible for EITC click here.

The IRC will be offering free tax preparation services virtually now through April. See below for details.

Schedule Your Tax Appointment

Beginning January 11, 2021, you can book a time to have your taxes prepared. Choose the option that works best for you:

- Call 211

- Fill out form below

Please enter your informaiton below. We will call you within two business days.

Click Here

San Diego

International Rescue Committee City Heights

Contact: +1 619 641 7510 x301

irc.tax [at] rescue.org

El Cajon

International Rescue Committee El Cajon

Contact: +1 619 440 6208 x246

irc.tax [at] rescue.org

Taxpayers can check their eligibility and make an online appointment at irctaxes.org.


How You Can Help

The IRC is now looking for volunteers for the upcoming 2021 program.

VITA volunteers are essential to the success of our program, and we encourage you to apply via the link below. For questions about the program in general please contact us at IRC.Tax [at] rescue.org and a member of our team will follow up with you. For questions about becoming a volunteer for the program please contact Linda.Glevy [at] rescue.org

VITA Tax Preparation Volunteer


If you or your company is interested in supporting this valuable program that impacts the lives of thousands of San Diegans, please contact Laurel.Dalsted [at] rescue.org (Laurel.Dalsted)Laurel.Dalsted [at] Rescue.org (subject: VITA%20Tax%20Program%20Support) (@Rescue.org) or +1 619 641 7510 x242.

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