Free Tax Preparation Available to Millions of Californians

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Public Affairs Office
publicaffairsoffice@ftb.ca.gov

For Immediate Release

02.19.2015

Sacramento — Many Californians are eligible for free tax help through two programs:  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE).

 “Last year, volunteers helped California taxpayers file more than 700,000 basic state and federal tax returns,” State Controller and FTB Chair Betty T. Yee said. “In many cases, they got refunds and credits that they might have missed such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit.

Trained volunteers at more than 1,000 VITA/TCE sites throughout California provide free help by completing tax forms for those who make $53,000 or less, as well as senior, disabled, and non-English speaking people who need to file simple federal and state tax returns. Many military bases provide this service for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The TCE program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. TCE specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues pertaining to seniors. The TCE volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retirees associated with nonprofit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

To find locations throughout California, go to ftb.ca.gov and click on the free filing assistance link.

Taxpayers need to bring the following to the local VITA or TCE Site:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID).
  • Social security cards for the taxpayer, spouse, and dependents or a social security number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration. If the taxpayer does not have a social security number, an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted.
  • Proof of foreign status, if the taxpayer is applying for an ITIN.
  • Birth dates for all who are included in the tax return.
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc) from all employers.
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099).
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available.
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check.
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the provider's tax identifying number such as their social security number or business employer identification number.
  • Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements.
  • To file taxes electronically on a joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

FTB administers two of California's major tax programs: Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax. FTB also administers other non tax programs and delinquent debt collection functions, including delinquent vehicle registration debt collections on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and court–ordered debt. Annually, FTB’s tax programs collect more than 70 percent of the state’s general fund. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit taxes.ca.gov.

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