Wait to file in 2018 by using free tax prep services
Educate your households on waiting until 2018 to file their taxes for free

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Many paid tax preparers offer early filing services in November and December, even before workers have their official tax filing documents. With holiday pressures coming up very soon, it is tempting for many to use these services to get their refunds early.

Paying for early filing may feel painless, as many of our low-to-moderate-income families get large refunds out of which the paid preparers take the filing fees. But as we know, a couple of hundred dollars more can make a big difference for people living an emergency away from financial crisis.

Our United Way leads the local VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program in our region. We are growing quite a bit this year and will have several additional locations at which our IRS-certified volunteers will provide completely FREE tax filing services.

We hope you will encourage your households to wait to file until 2018. VITA-eligible households (those earning at or below $54,000) in Sacramento County can call 2-1-1 starting January 16, 2018 to make a VITA appointment. Eligible households in surrounding counties should call 916-498-1000 starting on that same date.

For additional questions about our local VITA services, call Diana Clay at 916-368-3059 or Dana Mathews at 856-3978. Check http://www.yourlocalunitedway.org/volunteer-income-tax-assistance-vita-program in coming weeks to find our full listing of 2018 VITA sites.

See https://finance.yahoo.com/news/apply-advance-tax-refund-230135156.html for more details about the pitfalls of paid early tax filing.

Households earning $66,000 or less may also file taxes themselves for free starting in 2018 via www.MyFreeTaxes.com.