Free Tax Prep Helps Low-Income Families Boost Income and Brings Back Thousands of Dollars into Our Local Economy
Samaritan House is pleased to announce the kick-off of its free tax preparation services on Monday, February 13th, from 9-4 PM. The free and confidential tax services are available to San Mateo County residents with low to moderate earned income in 2011.
This first-of-its-kind event for Samaritan House is made possible through a $4000 seed grant from the United Way of the Bay Area, as it welcomes Samaritan House as a new VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site in San Mateo County this year. Trained and certified tax professional volunteers will be available by appointment only to make sure that clients get back every dollar they deserve. Refunds can go a long way for low income families and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can be as much as $5,700, bringing thousands of dollars back into the local economy.
“Our free tax sites open the door to programs that empower people to improve their finances. In addition to saving families hundreds of dollars on tax preparation, our sites connect low-income families with programs that can help them start saving, go back to school, get a good job, buy a first home or start a new business,” states Kelly Batson, a director of United Way’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, which marked its 10th year in the Bay Area this January.
Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Is a United Way-led coalition of over 250 organizations providing free tax preparation for low to moderate-income Bay Area households. During the 2011 tax season, EKS prepared nearly 60,000 returns, resulting in a return of $63.8 million to the community in refunds – an 11.5% increase over 2010.
Statistics from the 2011 Client Snapshot listed in United Way Bay Area’s Annual Report highlighted the following:
*45% of the respondents were new to the EKS Program
*79% reported 2010 income of $30,000 or below
*15.6% reported having a disability, or someone with a disability in their household
*11.9 % reported not having a bank account
*58.6% planned on using their refunds to pay bills
*15.2% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher
*36% Latino, 23.5% Asian, 17% African American, 13.8% Caucasian, 1.3% Native American/Native Hawaiian/Native Pacific Islander
The report also highlights across the board negative effects from the economic downturn between 2010 and 2011, resulting in cumulative cuts in hours and wages, foreclosures, healthcare benefits loss, and unemployment benefits loss.
To be considered for eligibility, client income for 2011 must be less than $50,000. The tax preparation services continue by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through April 17th. Tax filers must bring paperwork including: photo ID, SS card, W-2 for jobs held in 2011, a copy of their 2010 tax return, childcare provider and landlord information for the California’s renters credit.
For eligibility and appointment information, call 650-523-0804.
For more information, contact:
Director of Homelessness Prevention
Public Relations Coordinator