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United Way of San Diego County and 2-1-1 San Diego announced a partnership Friday to expand free tax preparation services with grant funding from the state Department of Community Services.

The two organizations plan to use the partnership to promote the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and the more than 60 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites around the county. Last year, the two organizations and the rest of the San Diego County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition enabled 630 volunteers to help 31,092 residents around the county with their taxes. With the assistance, those residents earned more than $40 million in federate and state tax refunds.

“Each year, too many hard-working San Diegans are missing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars in tax refunds that they’ve earned,” United Way President and CEO Nancy Sasaki said. “These grants will help us connect with more local residents and share vital information about one of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty measures — the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

The tax credit benefits low- and moderate-income workers and couples, especially if they have children. According to Sasaki, more than 300,000 San Diego residents are eligible for both the state and federal credits, with a maximum refund of roughly $9,000. The two organizations said that they aim to help low- and moderate-income workers take advantage of tax refund credits like the EITC to expand their tax returns.

“Most low-income households are not able to afford access to a financial expert they can talk to about getting out of debt, choosing safe banking practices and services, or planning and saving for the future,” said William York, the executive vice president of 2-1-1 San Diego. “So, many families continue to struggle from paycheck to paycheck.”

County residents can make an appointment for free tax preparation services and assistance by calling 2-1-1 or visiting

–City News Service