Low-income Bay Area residents can now receive free tax and financial counseling from Internal Revenue Service volunteers at one of several local community centers through April.
United Way Silicon Valley, a Bay Area community volunteer organization, is partnering with the IRS and other agencies like Catholic Charities to offer the free tax assistance to individuals earning less than $49,000 a year for its annual "Earn It! Keep It! Save it!" program. The financial assistance is part of an effort to raise awareness of available tax benefits and to eliminate reliance on paid tax-preparers, according to a United Way press release.
Help is also available to people who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites are open for walk-in consultations or appointments with IRS volunteers who speak English, Chinese, Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.
The two Mountain View locations are St. Joseph Catholic School, 1120 Miramonte Ave., and St. Athanasius Catholic Church, 160 N. Rengstorff Ave. Help is available at St. Joseph's from Feb. 12 to Apr. 16 and St. Athanasius Feb. 19 and March 5. Both sites are open from 9 a.m. to noon, have English- and Spanish-speaking volunteers and can file forms electronically. Go to www.211scc.org for more information.