Free tax help from United Way could get you a bigger refund

United Way has 70 Bay Area locations for those looking for free help with 2022 tax preparations.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- When filing taxes, of us may be losing out on tax credits when we file our state and federal taxes. United Way Bay Area has our backs with 70 sites offering free tax help.

It's that annual chore few of us relish, but United Way Bay Area is doing everything it can to lessen the pain.

More than 1,000 volunteers across the region have set up Free Tax Help centers.

For retiree Antonio Rodriguez, who lives on a fixed income, he saves from not having to pay a tax preparer.

"For me, another $150, $200 a year would add to the groceries," the San Jose resident said.

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The IRS-certified volunteers are trained to help filers claim credits they might not know about, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit of up to $6.728 for a family with three or more qualified children, and the Child Tax Credit of up to $3,600 for each child age five or under. It's can be as much as $3,000 for each child age six through 17.

Tax filers who qualify, tell the site staff how happy they are.

"Last year I didn't get anything, but this year I'm getting something," they tell Free Tax Help site coordinator Jade Bradley.

"They're just really, really excited," she said. "So we're happy that people are getting what they should get."

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Last year, Free Tax Help assisted more than 32,000 families in eight counties.

"I feel so relieved that I can just turn it over to them, and they don't miss a cue," said Margaret Aguiar, a San Jose resident. "They go over everything step-by-step, and they catch things I wouldn't catch."

You can find one of the 70 Free Tax Help centers near you by dialing "211," or by going to the United Way Bay Area website.

Days and hours of operation vary. Assistance is available in multiple languages.

RELATED: How to get up to $3,600 per child in tax credit

For United Way Bay Area, this service is central to its strategic plan.

"It's a critical part of the fight against poverty to ensure that every family, especially our lowest income families, get every dollar they can out of maximizing their tax refund," said United Way Bay Area CEO Kevin Zwick.

2022 taxes are due on Monday, April 18.

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