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United Way Invites Low-income OC Residents To Take Advantage Of Free Tax Prep Services

United Way Invites Low-income OC Residents To Take Advantage Of Free Tax Prep Services

Households that earned less than $60,000 in 2016 can benefit from Free Tax Preparation Services

Irvine, CA – With tax season in full swing, taxpayers throughout Orange County are busy gathering receipts, W-2’s and other materials they’ll need to prepare their 2016 tax returns, hoping they’ll enjoy the fruits of their labor in the form of tax refunds.

But too many residents in low- to moderate-income households don’t even know where to start, or that they have access to free tax preparation services that can help reduce their tax burden or boost their refund.

The OC Free Tax Prep Campaign, a partnership between United Way, the Internal Revenue Service and dozens of non-profit organizations and businesses, offers taxpayers earning less than $60,000 in 2016 free assistance in one of two ways:

  • Online at MyFreeTaxes.com
  • In person at one of over 52 partner sites across Orange County, including nonprofit organizations, senior centers and schools. Assistance is offered in multiple languages, including Spanish and Vietnamese.

Last year, 17,539 Orange County residents received free tax prep assistance through the Campaign, claiming $15,524,032 in federal and state returns.

Key resources available to but often not claimed by families looking to lower their tax burdens are the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC). Residents in households earning less than $53,505 may be eligible for the Federal EITC and could receive a credit up to $6,269 on their federal tax return.

In addition, CalEITC is a fairly new state tax credit that can refund up to $2,706 to qualified working families and individuals in households with adjusted gross incomes of up to $6,717 if there are no qualifying children, up to $10,087 if there is one qualifying child, or up to $14,161 if there are two or more qualifying children.

“Each year, one in five eligible families fail to claim the EITC, missing out on millions of dollars in unclaimed federal tax refunds that could be better spent on food, medical or school expenses,” explained Brenyale Toomer-Byas, Director of Housing and Income, at Orange County United Way.

A key element in United Way’s FACE 2024 community-wide action plan is to reduce the number of financially unstable families in Orange County by 25 percent. These free tax prep services support this goal by providing avenues for families looking to reduce their tax burden, lower costs associated with filing their taxes or prevent greater financial burdens later on in the form of penalties for failing to pay their taxes on time.

To learn more about the OC Free Tax Prep Campaign or how to access free tax filing services, please visit www.UnitedWayOC.org/free-tax-prep or call 888.434.8248. Those interested in preparing their taxes from home can visit MyFreeTaxes.com. To learn about United Way’s Income goal and other strategies to promote financial stability for Orange County families, please visit http://www.unitedwayoc.org/income.

ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY UNITED WAY:

Established in 1924, Orange County United Way fights for the education, health, housing and financial stability of every person in Orange County.  Through our 10-year community-wide action plan, “FACE 2024” (an acronym for Fund, Advocate, Collaborate, Educate), by 2024 United Way will cut the high school dropout rate in half, increase healthy youth by one-third, cut the percentage of homeless or unstably housed children and families in half and reduced financial instability by 25%. By mobilizing local businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies and individuals, we 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.


NEWS CONTACTS:

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

Michael Suydam
21Strat 949.981.5008, mike@21strat.com


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, by focusing on the building blocks for a good quality of life: Education, Income, Health and Housing. By investing in Orange County’s children, families and individuals, we help them create pathways to self-sufficient futures through education and training. In short, we help people help themselves. Through our 10-year community-wide action plan “FACE 2024” (an acronym for Fund, Advocate, Collaborate, Educate), United Way is mobilizing 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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