Forget all the complicated numbers and forms. Just remember 2-1-1.

Low-income families and individuals can call that number to make an appointment for free help with their state and federal income taxes until April 15.

Free tax help is offered by the county for low-income families and individuals. Image courtesy County News Center

Individuals and families who worked in 2013 and earned less than $51,000 could qualify for as much as $6,044 in a tax credit.

The service is part of San Diego County’s annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign, which Supervisor Greg Cox and the Board of Supervisors launched in 2003 because too many San Diegans eligible for the federal tax credit were not claiming it.

The Internal Revenue Service estimates that between 20 percent and 25 percent of eligible individuals fail to claim their EITC each year.

EITC is a federal program established in 1975 to help low-income families and individuals out of poverty by allowing them to keep more of their income.

This year, about 400 volunteers are preparing and filing people’s taxes electronically and helping them take advantage of EITC, the federal government’s largest assistance program to support low-income families.

You have two other options for tax help this year. You can go to a site and prepare your taxes yourself. Volunteers will be on hand to provide assistance if you need it. Or, visit to complete your taxes on your own.

“We’re making it easier than ever for people to file their taxes and claim their EITC,” said Nick Macchione, director of the county Health and Human Services Agency. “But in order to be eligible, you must file a tax return.”

The annual tax preparation campaign is conducted by the county agency in partnership with United Way, the Internal Revenue Service, AARP, 2-1-1 San Diego, local colleges and universities and many other organizations.

Last year, more than 43,500 federal and state returns were filed by EITC campaign volunteers in the San Diego region, bringing $53.9 million in state and federal tax dollars to working families and the local economy. About $10.4 million were EITC dollars.

The EITC Campaign is part of Live Well San Diego, the County’s ongoing initiative to improve the health and quality of life of local residents and help them to become self-sufficient.

— County News Center