LOS ANGELES, July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- California United Ways and partner Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs across the state are making their services available virtually, for hard-working, low to middle-income California workers who have just a few remaining days to file their taxes before the extended deadline of July 15, 2020.* United Way's MyFreeTaxes.org, a hotline, and texting options provide several ways to aid Californians with their taxes in a free, quick, and trustworthy way. Any immediate questions pertaining to tax filing can be answered by calling 866-698-9435, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST. Additional guidance can be found by texting TAXES to 211-211.
"With COVID-19, in-person tax appointments might be unsettling for high-risk individuals, or visits may have been postponed while trying to wait out the climbing number of positive cases," said Peter Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California. "United Ways wants Californians to know the facts, to get informed and to explore all their options for a free, safe, and virtual option, that in many cases can help you find additional sources of income through tax credits," Manzo added.
To schedule a virtual visit, click here. Proceed through the dialogue box and enter in the required information to set up your virtual VITA appointment.
On the MyFreeTaxes.org site, United Way features a "Tax Preparation Checklist" where tax filers can easily find information to better break down exactly what they need to prepare to expedite their returns.
Additionally, VITA preparers are trained and IRS-certified volunteers through local community organizations. They know to look for California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) eligibility as well as other credits. The average credit is $3,000, which can be critical during the pandemic. If filers want to calculate potential benefits prior to reaching out to a VITA preparer, a calculator is available on United Way's site as well as information on tax credits and deductions. Not only can preparers look to claim CalEITC on this year's return, but if these credits have not previously been claimed, filers may be eligible for up to three year's worth of returns as well as long as they were eligible. The extension for filing this year applies retroactively, so you can get the help you need to file your returns for 2019, 2018, 2017, and even 2016.
"I used to be scared to go to the doctors because I didn't have the money. CalEITC is not only helping me financially, but it's helping me with my health," a CalEITC income-earner claimed.
*You can still apply for an additional extension to file federal taxes until October 15, but remember it is an extension to file only, for California state taxes you have an automatic extension to file the return. If taxes are owed after July 15th a penalty and interest may be assessed for both federal and state taxes. If you are getting a refund, the penalty to file is not assessed and you can file and claim a refund for up to three years for the federal and four years for the state from the due date. Several VITA sites, and MyFreeTaxes.org will continue to operate until October 15, 2020.
About United Ways of California
United Ways of California improves health, education and financial results for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California's 30 local United Ways. United Ways of California was formed in 2008 by California's local United Ways seeking to work together to educate state and national leaders about policy issues affecting community impact goals in health, education, and financial stability.
SOURCE United Ways of California