County Offers Free Tax Preparation

You could pay to have your income taxes done. But why?

If you are a low-income family or individual, save your money. The County can help you file your taxes completely free.

Starting today and continuing through April 15, more than 500 volunteers will help prepare and file taxes electronically at about 92 locations across the county. However, you have to be low income to qualify for this free service.

“We want to help low-income working residents claim their Earned Income Tax Credit and increase the amount they get back and keep,” said Supervisor Greg Cox, County Board of Supervisors.

Spearheaded by Supervisor Cox in 2003, the free tax preparation services are part of the annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign, which the County Health and Human Services Agency, the IRS, AARP, United Way of San Diego and 2-1-1 San Diego conduct every year. 

Through the campaign, residents take advantage of EITC, the federal government’s largest assistance program to support low-income families.

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

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

“Thanks to the tax preparation campaign, our low-income residents get to keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Nick Macchione, director of the County Health and Human Services Agency. “This program is helping them to get out of poverty, and helping our region to thrive.”

EITC is a federal program established in 1975. This year, California is also offering a state EITC to supplement the federal credit. 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 2015 and earned less than $53,505 could qualify for as much as $6,269 in federal EITC tax credit. The California credit could be as much as $2,653. Residents must file a tax return to be eligible for both credits.

Last year, EITC campaign volunteers filed more than 28,000 federal tax returns, bringing about $13 million in EITC dollars to local working families and individuals.

The EITC Campaign is part of Live Well San Diego, the County’s vision 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