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Approaching the Last Weekend before Taxes are Due Wednesday, July 15: United Ways of California says 'It's Not Too Late to Do Your Taxes, Free, with Expert Guidance'

United Way offers free tax filing services as Americans struggle with financial insecurity in the midst of the pandemic

LOS ANGELES, July 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- During these especially financially pressing times, United Ways of California is providing a free way to make a stressful task much less difficult. United Ways of California continues to build resiliency and financial security for vulnerable populations and hard-working, lower-income Californians by establishing and amplifying critical resources. Visit MyFreeTaxes.org to get help with tax filings which are due next week, postmarked on or before Wednesday, July 15, to get connected to services that provide free, virtual assistance to those who still need to do their taxes. Additionally, you can text TAXES to 211 211 to get guidance.

United Ways of California, with assistance from VITA volunteers and online portals like MyFreeTaxes.org, helps people like Ivonne Sonato-Vega prepare taxes for free and apply for tax credits -- with virtual options during COVID-19: “Once you live check-by-check it is hard to save...having that money there, it motivates you.”

While July 15 is the deadline to file a tax return and pay federal taxes, if you don't request an extension and/or pay by July 15, you may be hit with penalties and interest due on the amount you owe. It is still a good idea to file and pay sooner than later. You can still apply for an additional extension to file federal taxes until October 15 and for California state taxes you have an automatic extension to file the return. 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, partners, subgrantees, MyFreeTaxes.org will continue to operate until October 15, 2020.

"When the tax deadline was extended back in March due to COVID-19, most Californians breathed a sigh of relief, but now as they head into the last remaining weekend to prepare taxes before they are due Wednesday, July 15, some Californians aren't feeling prepared due to complications brought on by the pandemic," says Peter Manzo, president and CEO of United Ways of California. "We can help; it's not too late," he added.

United Ways of California and its network of 30 United Way members enables Californians to put unspent tax preparation money back into necessities. United Ways can even assist people with tax credits - all at absolutely no cost to the participant.

Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region stated, "United Way's Free Tax Prep program not only saves them preparer fees, it puts money back in their pockets through refundable tax credits, like the CalEITC. Many people may not  even know they are eligible, and or some families, receiving $6,500 in federal and CalEITC tax credits can make a huge difference in their ability to feed their children, stay in their homes and more."

No one should pay to prepare and file their federal and state tax returns during a global pandemic which has left millions unemployed. Two out of five Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recipients with $500 or less in the bank spent half of their stimulus monies within 10 days of receipt. Tax preparation and filing even through the least expensive Do-It-Yourself private sector options cost families already struggling to meet basic needs, several hundred dollars. This price tag only increases as entrepreneurial, independent contract, and gig economy earnings are reported. Free tax preparation and filing for both federal and state returns help those struggling to balance budgets. As a nonprofit organization, United Way's only interest is to help low to middle-income households earn, keep, and save more.

MyFreeTaxes.org also promises to never share or sell personal information to third parties without consent, so users can rest assured their information stays safe.

Now more than ever, it is clear how vital it is for all individuals to have financial resiliency and doing taxes plays a significant role in that. Through community partnerships and local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs, its MyFreeTaxes.org website, and texting options United Ways of California are providing several ways to aid Californians with their taxes in a free, quick, and trustworthy way.

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.


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SOURCE United Ways of California