Home > About > Announcements > The City Announces Local Tax Credit and Free Tax Preparation Services for Lower-Wage Workers, Families, and Foster Youth

The City Announces Local Tax Credit and Free Tax Preparation Services for Lower-Wage Workers, Families, and Foster Youth

News Release

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA) announced today that assistance is available to help eligible San Franciscans file their taxes. With the Child Tax Credit (CTC), eligible working families can receive the largest child tax credit in ever—but they can only access this historic opportunity if they file their taxes. Along with the CTC, the San Francisco Working Families Credit (WFC), and other tax credits and federal relief payments, individuals and families could receive hundreds or even thousands of dollars back.

San Francisco is one of a handful of cities that offer a local credit, the WFC. As many San Francisco working families continue to struggle to make ends meet due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WFC offers low and moderate-income households with children a local tax credit of up to $250 to help cover day-to-day expenses such as utilities, rent, food, and child care. Working families could get back as much as $9,600 by applying for other refunds and credits as part of their tax return.

New last year, the California Earned Income Tax Credit and the WFC became available to taxpayers filing with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), providing expanded assistance to San Francisco’s undocumented and mixed-status immigrant households who pay taxes but who do not have a social security number.  

“San Francisco families that were hit hardest by the pandemic and struggling to get by may not be aware of the money they could get back from tax credits,” said Mayor Breed. “This tax prep service not only helps eligible individuals file their taxes for free, but it also helps working families apply for other refunds and tax credits, like the Working Families Credit, which can make a world of difference for someone making difficult choices between paying for food or rent.”

Often, those who most need these tax refunds are the least likely to file and claim them, including low-income families, families of color, and households led by single mothers. To make it even easier for San Franciscans to file their taxes, SFHSA is providing free tax assistance at two SFHSA locations starting March 7, as well as partnering with United Way Bay Area, John Burton Advocates for Youth, San Francisco Independent Living Skills Program/First Place for Youth, San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocate Program, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide tax services and resources to help foster youth to file their taxes. In addition, SFHSA is raising awareness through public transit advertising, social media, and mailings to encourage clients and eligible San Franciscans to drop by or make an appointment to get their taxes filed for free.

“We created the Working Families Credit in San Francisco to help families who struggle every day to pay for childcare, housing, and save for their children’s future,” said Treasurer José Cisneros, who launched the Working Families Credit with then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2005. “It’s essential that we make it even easier for families to claim the money they are entitled to.”

Free Tax Assistance

On average, American taxpayers spend nearly $200 to have a tax professional file their return. San Francisco’s free tax assistance centers allow filers to avoid preparation fees and maximize their refunds through tax credits.

Free tax preparation is available to people who cannot afford professional services from a paid tax preparer and to older adults, those with limited English proficiency, and people with disabilities who require assistance. IRS-certified tax experts prepare returns, answer questions, and determine if filers qualify for tax credits such as federal and state EITCs, Child Tax Credits, and the WFC.

The IRS estimates that nearly one out of five eligible people miss out on the EITC because they do not know that they qualify, or do not know where to find free tax filing assistance. Free tax assistance is available at dozens of San Francisco neighborhood locations in partnership with the United Way Bay Area, Mission Economic Development Association, Arriba Juntos, and several other local organizations. IRS-certified providers make it easy to safely and securely file taxes using online tools, or to utilize drop-off and in-person service options at select locations. Filers with a combined household income of $66,000 or less in 2021 are eligible for the service.

“Many of our clients and community members aren’t required to file their taxes—but if they don’t file, they’re leaving money owed to them on the table,” said Trent Rhorer, SFHSA Executive Director. “One of the largest and most effective anti-poverty programs in the nation are tax credits. We know people are struggling to make ends meet and tax preparation can be expensive. That’s why we’re urging San Francisco workers with incomes under $66,000 to come to our offices or other free tax sites around the City for help with filing their taxes, and claim the refunds owed them.”

To have their taxes prepared, residents should present income documents from all jobs worked throughout 2021 as well as their social security number or ITIN, bank account numbers, a valid photo ID, and reportable expenses such as child care. In addition to free tax help, SFHSA can connect filers to no-fee bank accounts, credit repair services, and financial education coaching. The deadline to file is April 18, 2022 and nearly all free tax sites close after that date, but tax refunds can be claimed all year without penalty.

To find free tax assistance filing options, visit FreeTaxHelpSF.org or call 2-1-l. To use one of SFHSA’s two in-person tax sites, starting March 7: drop by 170 Otis St. or 3120 Mission St. between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday, or call to make an appointment: (415) 209-5143 for 170 Otis St. or (415) 487-3240 for 3120 Mission St.



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