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San Francisco Announces Free Tax Preparation Services and Local Tax Credit for Lower-Wage Workers and Families

News Release

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) began the tax filing season by announcing that free community tax assistance centers are now open to help San Franciscans maximize their refunds and apply for the San Francisco Working Families Credit (WFC). The WFC increases economic security for low-income working families by providing a local tax credit of up to $250.

“Families struggling to make ends meet aren’t always aware of tax credits they deserve. Nobody should miss out on their full refund because they can’t afford a tax professional,” said Mayor Breed. “We’re taking the stress out of filing season by making tax experts accessible and helping families apply for the Working Families Credit so they can keep more of what they’ve earned.”

The City’s tax season initiatives include $1.55 million in funding for local credits. The WFC offers low- and moderate-income working families with children up to $250 cash back to help cover day-to-day expenses such as utilities, rent, and child care. When combined with state and federal tax credits, the WFC can help families receive up to $9,600 in tax credits. San Francisco created the WFC in 2005 and is one of a few cities in the country to offer a local tax credit.

Prior to this year, the WFC was limited to a one-time benefit per household. New for this tax season, the one-time rule has been eliminated. All eligible families are encouraged to apply again. To qualify, households must have a 2019 income of no more than $56,000, claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and submit an application to HSA. More than 6,200 San Francisco families are eligible for the WFC.

“Tax credits are among the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty programs. Our local credits have placed more than $10 million back into the wallets of hard-working San Franciscans,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “The Working Families Credit is no longer limited to a one-time benefit. We’re excited to get the word out for families to take a second look and apply again.”

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 maximize their refunds through tax credits and avoid preparation fees.

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. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) certified tax experts prepare tax returns, answer questions, and determine if filers qualify for tax credits such as the EITC and 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. Last year, more than 10,000 returns were filed at San Francisco’s free tax assistance centers.

Free tax assistance is available at select HSA client service centers and more than 30 San Francisco neighborhood locations in partnership with United Way Bay Area. Filers with a combined household income of $56,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for the service.

To have their taxes prepared, residents should bring income documents from all jobs worked throughout 2019 as well as their social security number, bank account numbers, a valid photo ID, and reportable expenses such as child care. In addition to free tax help, HSA can connect filers to no-fee bank accounts, credit repair services, and financial education coaching. The deadline to file is April 15, 2020.

Free Tax Assistance Centers
Services available are through April 15th at the following HSA client service centers:

  • 170 Otis Street
  • 1235 Mission Street
  • 3120 Mission Street
  • 1800 Oakdale Avenue

Open weekdays, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.

To download Working Families Credit (WFC) applications and find additional free community tax assistance center locations, visit FreeTaxHelpSF.org, or call 2-1-1 to find free tax centers and schedule appointments.

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Contact info

Mayor’s Office of Communications
(415) 554-6131