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Free Tax Prep Available For Low-income Orange County Residents

Free Tax Prep Available For Low-income Orange County Residents

United Way’s volunteer income tax assistance program offered to households that earned less than $60,000 in 2015

Irvine, CA —For many, the start of the new year is a reminder that the mid-April deadline to complete and mail their tax returns – a daunting process for many – is right around the corner. For those struggling to make ends meet, preparing tax returns can be an almost impossible task.

That’s why Orange County United Way is once again offering a helping hand this year to low-income residents in the form of the OC Free Tax Prep campaign.

Participating individuals in households earning less than $60,000 will receive complimentary tax preparation assistance along with valuable tools and strategies they can use to reduce their tax burden or maximize refunds.

Last season, the program returned more than $14 million in refunds and over $4.1 million in Earned Income Tax Credit dollars to nearly 17,000 low-to-moderate income taxpayers throughout Orange County.

A key element in United Way’s FACE 2024 community-wide action plan is to reduce the number of financially unstable families by 25 percent. The free tax prep services provide a way for families to file their taxes and, in many cases, reap the benefits of additional available credits and reduce their tax burden.

“One in five eligible families don’t claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) each year, missing out on millions of dollars in unclaimed federal tax refunds,” stated Brenyale Toomer-Byas, Director, Income and Housing, at Orange County United Way. “Families can use these untapped dollars to pay for critical needs such as food or medical expenses, while also stimulating the local economy.”

Residents earning less than $53,267 may be eligible for the Federal EITC and could receive a credit up to $6,242 on their federal tax return. In addition, CalEITC is a new California tax credit that puts up to $2,653 in the pockets of qualified working families and individuals who made less than $6,580 last year. This will significantly boost household income for eligible families and individuals.

Free tax preparation services are provided by 400 IRS-certified tax volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Foundation Tax-Aide programs. These services take place at over 60 partner sites across the county, including nonprofit centers, senior centers and schools.

To locate a free tax preparation site or to volunteer as a tax preparer, call 888.434.8248. Individuals may also qualify to prepare taxes from home at www.MyFreeTaxes.com. To learn more about United Way’s income goals and strategies to promote greater financial stability for Orange County families, visit http://www.unitedwayoc.org/income.


NEWS CONTACTS:

Michael Suydam
21Strat 949.981.5008, Karlak_p@auhsd.us

Katherine Ransom, Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Orange County United Way 949.263.6176, katheriner@unitedwayoc.org


ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY UNITED WAY:
Since 1924, Orange County United Way has been working to improve lives and strengthen our community by mobilizing the caring power of Orange County and focusing on the building blocks for a good quality of life: Education, Income, Health and Housing. By investing in Orange County children, families and individuals, we help them create pathways to self-sufficient lives. In short, we help people help themselves. Through our 10-year community-wide action plan, “FACE 2024” (an acronym for Fund, Advocate, Collaborate, Educate), we collaborate with local businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies and individuals to make a long-term measurable difference in the lives of local individuals and families. To learn more or to join our movement, visit www.unitedwayoc.org.

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