United Way encourages SLO County residents earning $66,000 or less to keep more of their hard-earned money this tax season by using a free, online tax preparation service and accessing valuable tax credits including the California Earned Income Tax Credit. Over 100 million filers (70% of Americans) are eligible for free tax preparation but there are confusing options. If your income qualifies you, all United Way tax filing programs are free!

MyFreeTaxes is a mobile-optimized self-file software program allowing free federal and state tax preparation and filing for anyone earning $66,000 or less. For 2020 United Way of SLO County has partnered with SLO County Libraries to host 4 MyFreeTaxes locations at public libraries in Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Los Osos and Arroyo Grande. Sundays only, beginning February 9th from 11am-4pm continuing until April 5th, 2020* (*All Library sites CLOSED February 16th). United Way also offers free in- person filing assistance for taxpayers earning $56,000 or less through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in South County at Oceano Elementary School. On average, filers can save $200 in tax preparation fees by using the free platform.

“In addition to the savings derived from using this service, taxpayers can reduce the amount of income tax they pay by claiming valuable credits like the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit. We know that tax refunds help many in our community achieve greater financial stability, and we want to help them keep more of what they earn,” said Rick London, CEO of United Way of San Luis Obispo County.

Filers can enter data into the secure MyFreeTaxes.org site anytime, from anywhere, making it easy to update the documents from home, at work or on mobile devices.

Households with total earnings under $56,000 qualify for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and may have their taxes prepared by certified volunteers and reviewed by certified tax preparers. VITA is available in San Luis Obispo County at Oceano Elementary School, Adult Education Room, 1551 17th Street, Oceano on Saturdays beginning February 8th from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, continuing through March 21st, 2020. Walk-ins accepted, Appointments recommended. To make an appointment go to www.myfreetaxes.org and click “In Person”.

Participants should bring their Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, last year’s tax return, W-2s and other tax related documents, including childcare expenses and health insurance coverage information, and a bank routing information for a direct deposit. Volunteers from Cal Poly may help with special credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, they will also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster when tax refunds are deposited directly into one’s bank account.

MyFreeTaxes is provided by United Way, and is powered by H&R Block. Individuals earning more than $66,000 a year can also use the H&R Block software through the MyFreeTaxes site at a discounted rate. More information is available online at www.unitedwayslo.org and www.myfreetaxes.org.

united way taxes