United Way’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Program Helps Bay Area Taxpayers Recoup Millions of Dollars with Free Tax Preparation

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Volunteers Now Ready to Assist Low-wage Workers at 200 Locations in the Bay Area with Free Tax Preparation

Last year alone trained volunteers returned 64,000 Bay Area taxpayers more than $68 million in refunds, including $22 million from the EITC.

The Internal Revenue Service has declared Friday, January 25, as EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) Awareness Day to draw attention to the EITC that millions of taxpayers overlook every year. That is just one of the many tax incentives that taxpayers fail to claim either because they don’t know what they are entitled to, or they don’t file a federal income tax return. To help low- and moderate-income taxpayers prepare their taxes and claim all the deductions to which they are entitled, United Way of the Bay Area (http://www.uwba.org) will partner with hundreds of organizations to offer free tax preparation services this year at over 200 locations through the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! (EKS, http://www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org) program.

This is the 11th year that the United Way of the Bay Area has offered free tax preparation through the EKS program to households earning $51,000 per year or less. Claiming the EITC alone can increase an eligible taxpayer’s refund by more than $5,000 per household. In fact, last year alone trained volunteers returned 64,000 Bay Area taxpayers more than $68 million in refunds, including $22 million from the EITC.

“Hard economic times and tax increases, such as the two percent hike in payroll tax, hit lower and middle income families the hardest. That’s why we are pleased to offer the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program again this year – to empower families to take control of their finances starting with their taxes,” said Kelly Batson, a program director of the regional Earn It! Keep It! Save It! coalition at United Way of the Bay Area. “Not only does EKS help families save hundreds on tax preparation, we also connect them to other financial services to help them start saving for their future or help them become economically self-sufficient.”

About Earn It! Keep It! Save It!

Households that earned less than $51,000 in 2012 are eligible for free tax assistance. The free tax preparation service includes tax return preparation and savings and income support services. For more information about tax site locations, eligibility, and what documents to bring, taxpayers can call 211 or visit http://www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org.    

United Way’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It! is a coalition of Bay Area nonprofits, government agencies and financial institutions providing free tax preparation to eligible residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma Counties. Last year, Earn It! Keep It! Save It! processed $68 million in refunds for 64,000 households. It also helped low-wage families claim more than $22 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC).

About United Way of the Bay Area
United Way of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization, leading a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. We’re harnessing the collective power of nonprofits, government, corporations, labor and thousands of individuals to create change through giving, advocating, and volunteering. Every year, our programs - SparkPoint, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, 211, MatchBridge and Community Schools – help more than 250,000 Bay Area residents. We connect people to food and shelter, put people back to work, bring tax dollars back to our community, help youth succeed in school and in the workplace, and move people toward financial stability. Founded in 1922, United Way of the Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties. For more information, visit http://www.uwba.org.

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