Several local organizations have partnered with volunteers to give working families free federal tax return assistance, specifically to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and United Way of Silicon Valley will work with the IRS to operate Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites and help low- and moderate-income families get tax refunds, said Caitlin Kerk, spokeswoman for both Catholic Charities and United Way.
Mountain View-based Intuit, creators of TurboTax, has again partnered with the Computer & Communications Industry Association to offer three free tax assistance events in Silicon Valley—one which will be in Mountain View on Mar. 13.
"Many people don't know how to claim their earned income tax credit and non-profits don't always have the resources or know how to help their communities out," said Roxana Damas, who helps coordinate these events for CCIA. She explained that about 40 Intuit volunteers sign up to assist.
Families earning $51,000 or less qualify under federal rules for the free tax services at VITA sites, Kerk said.
The Earned Income Tax Credit for 2012 allows a tax credit of $5,891 for families with low and moderate incomes and three or more children, $5,236 for those with two kids, $3,169 for one child and $475 for those with no kids, Kerk said.
There are now 53 VITA sites in Santa Clara County where IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax preparation for the 2012 federal tax year, according to Kerk.
Free tax preparation locations in Mountain View include:
VITA: St. Athanasius Catholic Church; Feb. 2 to April 6 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m
- Menlo Park: Garfield Charter School, Saturday, Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
- Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, Wednesday, Mar. 13 (time to be announced.)
- Sunnyvale: Sunnyvale Public Library, Monday, Mar. 4 (time to be announced.)
To find other VITA locations near you check out this IRS site.
Catholic Charities last year helped 2,000 taxpayers obtain about $1 million in returns from the Earned Income Tax Credit, refunds totaling $2.9 million and saved them about $200,000 in tax preparation fees, Kerk said.
The church-based charity debuted its program, called Tax EZ, at a news conference Thursday attended by Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese at the Eastside Neighborhood Center, a VITA site in east San Jose,
The Catholic group operates nine of the 53 VITA sites in the county.
United Way, in cooperation with the IRS, this year will provide nine "drop-off" sites and eight "do-it-yourself" sites offering free tax
The drop-off offices permit filers to turn in their tax documents and have volunteer tax preparers work on the returns before their next appointment.
At do-it-yourself sites, computers and people who can answer tax questions will be available for filers who need less assistance with their returns.
For more information about Catholic Charities' VITA sites, call 408-325-5220 or go to www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org.
For information on United Way's VITA offices, call its referral line at 211 or visit www.211scc.org.
Additional reporting by Bay City News, Inc.
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