Campaign provides families with free tax preparation services and helps them claim State and Federal tax credits up to $9,000
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today launched the 2018 campaign to provide low-to-moderate income households with free tax preparation services, and help taxpayers claim State and Federal tax credits.
Mayor Garcetti was joined by Jerome Horton of the California State Board of Equalization and Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin to launch this year’s Free Tax Prep Los Angeles effort. All 16 of the City’s FamilySource Centers (FSC) will be open throughout the tax season to assist families with claiming their refunds. These services are also available to immigrant families filing their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Last year, more than 100,000 L.A. County residents were served through the campaign.
“Working families deserve every opportunity to put money back in their pockets — dollars they can invest in meaningful ways like getting quality childcare for their kids, making home improvements, and getting more reliable transportation,” said Mayor Garcetti. “These free tax prep services will help thousands of Angelenos better understand how to take advantage of tax credits that can help them get ahead.”
Households with annual incomes of $54,000 or less may qualify for approximately $9,000 in cash back through the State and Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The Free Tax Prep Los Angeles campaign is a public-private collaboration led by the City of Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), Citi Community Development, Youth Policy Institute (YPI), Koreatown Youth + Community Center (KYCC), and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
This year, the campaign is primarily funded by $600,000 in competitive California Department of Community Services and Development grants awarded to YPI and KYCC for a second year in a row, bringing to Los Angeles the largest share of funding the state awarded. The funding will continue expanding the integration of free tax prep education into services provided at FamilySource Centers. Services include giving people access to information on how to claim the EITC, helping families access safe and affordable banking products, and connecting them to financial education and counseling services.
"As City Controller, my office works to help secure our City's financial future — it is vital that Angelenos have the tools and knowledge to plan for and secure their own financial futures," Controller Galperin said. "Helping hard-working families claim the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit can lift Angelenos out of poverty and help power our economy. For families living paycheck-to-paycheck, these credits provide a great opportunity to get out of debt and start saving.”
“Research has shown that more than 43 percent of Los Angeles households lack enough savings to live at the poverty line for three months if faced with an unexpected emergency leading to a loss of income, yet eligible workers leave nearly $580 million in unclaimed tax credits on the table each year,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “Earned Income Tax Credits can provide an essential cash infusion for those households living paycheck-to-paycheck. Free Tax Prep Los Angeles will help provide access to free, high quality tax preparation services and raise awareness of tax credits that can strengthen financial resilience for hard working Angelenos.”
“We put EITC assistance at the heart of our cradle-to-college-to-career services because this kind of refund — available even to families who don’t owe taxes — can make the difference between a family living paycheck-to-paycheck and having the chance get ahead of the bills,” said Dixon Slingerland, President and CEO of the Youth Policy Institute. “This kind of investment pays off in whole generations of young children who do better in school, are more likely to attend college, and earn more as they start careers and families.”
“Financial empowerment is a driving factor for economic mobility, and that’s where Free Tax Prep Los Angeles shines,” said Elise Buik, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “By putting money back into the hands of some of our most hard-working families and neighbors, these dollars can mean the difference between paying rent or saving for the future. United Way is proud to support and see even more Angelenos empowered by tax credits this year.”
Free Tax Prep Los Angeles has identified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the City and County in communities most in need of tax filing support, offering free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing available to qualified individuals.
For more information about this campaign, please visit www.FreeTaxPrepLA.com
About FamilySource Centers
Managed by the City’s Housing + Community Investment Department, FamilySource Centers are designed to assist low-income families become self-sufficient by increasing family income and increasing the educational attainment for youth and adults. All 16 centers are located in the most economically distressed areas of the City.