Sen. Dodd Helps Promote Free Tax Prep Assistance

Thursday, March 1, 2018

With taxes due at midnight on April 17th, Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) would like to remind taxpayers that assistance is available for those having difficulty with their tax returns. Millions of dollars go unclaimed every year by people and families that don’t apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit that can provide thousands of dollars for working people who earn low or moderate incomes.

California’s Franchise Tax Board sponsors a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program to help individuals with limited incomes complete their tax returns. Free tax preparation programs are supported by nonprofit groups, like the United Way and AARP.

“People often run into problems or become lost in the maze of forms and rules when preparing income tax returns,” said Senator Dodd. “I was proud to help create the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families, and I want to make sure every eligible person is able to receive the benefit.”

Residents who believe they may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit are strongly encouraged to contact VITA or TCE programs nearest them. To search for nearby sites, residents can visit Many tax preparation sites provide assistance to qualifying low to moderate income taxpayers and require appointments, so taxpayers should call in advance.

There are VITA and TCE sites throughout our region. Many offer special assistance, such as bilingual and/or shut-in services. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a Taxpayer Advocate Service, which provides an independent system to ensure that tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels are handled promptly and fairly. Each state and each service center has at least one taxpayer advocate who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate.