Health

County Offers Free Tax Preparation Help

It’s fast. It’s easy. And, it’s free. We’re talking about getting your taxes done.

Through April 15, the County will be helping low-income families and individuals file their income tax returns and increase the amount they get back.

More than 500 volunteers will help prepare and file taxes electronically at about 75 sites across the region, including one at the Westfield Mission Valley Mall. However, you have to be low income to qualify for the free service.

The tax preparation services are part of the annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign, which the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and its partner organizations launched in 2003. The goal is to help residents take advantage of EITC, the federal government’s largest assistance program to support low-income families.

“This is the perfect opportunity for low-income working residents to claim their Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Supervisor Greg Cox, County Board of Supervisors. “The tax service is free thanks to 2-1-1 San Diego and our other partners and volunteers, which means that people will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

This filing season, you could have your taxes prepared for you, prepare them yourself with assistance from a volunteer or do them on your own by visiting www.MyFreeTaxes.com.

To receive free services, all you have to do is call 2-1-1 to make an appointment at a site near you.

“The EITC program makes a real difference in the lives of our low-income residents,” said HHSA Director Nick Macchione. “By allowing them to hold on to more of their income, this program is supporting them to get out of poverty, and helping our region to thrive.”

ETIC is a federal program established in 1975. In San Diego County, the preparation service is offered through a partnership among the United Way of San Diego County, the IRS, AARP, local colleges and universities and other organizations. The IRS estimates that between 20 and 25 percent of eligible individuals do not claim their EITC each year.

Individuals and families who worked in 2014 and earned less than $53,000 could qualify for as much as $6,242 in EITC tax credit. Residents must file a tax return to be eligible.

Last year, EITC campaign volunteers filed nearly 49,000 federal and state returns, bringing about $10.4 million in EITC dollars to local working families and individuals.

The EITC Campaign is part of Live Well San Diego, the County’s ongoing initiative to improve the health and quality of life of local residents and help them to become self-sufficient.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact