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 that is just what over 100 local volunteers have signed up to do for the next several months. They have gone through sixteen hours of training to become certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to work in the Volunteer 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.
In 2016, the IRC in San Diego’s VITA program volunteers filed over 3,300 tax returns resulting in over $5.5 million in refunds for local taxpayers, including over 3 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), a valuable benefit for working families with children.
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, as well. 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
For 2016, taxpayers who worked and earned $54,000 or less are generally eligible. Refugee status is not a requirement for this program. The IRC will be offering free tax preparation services 7 days a week at two locations now through April:
5348 University Ave., Ste. 205C
San Diego, CA 92105
Contact: +1 619 641 7510 x301
131 E. Main Street, Suite 201
El Cajon, CA 92020
Contact: +1 619 440 6208 x246
Taxpayers can check their eligibility and make an online appointment at www.myfreetaxes.org, using the search feature to select an IRC location.
How You Can Help
The IRC is now looking for volunteers for the upcoming 2018 program, and will be offering three exciting and impactful opportunities:
All three positions will be essential to the success of our program, and we encourage you to apply via the links below. For questions about the program or the volunteer process, please contact us at IRC.Tax [at] rescue.org and a member of our team will follow up with you.
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 (subject: VITA%20Tax%20Program%20Support) or +1 619 641 7510 x242.