The City Launches Free Tax Preparation Assistance and Locations Tax Credit Program and Locations to Help Thousands of Residents
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Treasurer José Cisneros, and the San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA) announced today that free assistance is available to help eligible San Franciscans with incomes of under$64,000file their taxes and apply for the San Francisco Working Families Credit (WFC) and other tax credits that could help individuals receive up to several thousands of dollars in tax credits and refunds.
Mayor Breed, Treasurer Cisneros, and SFHSA are also celebrating two WFC milestones: 100,000 applications have been submitted for the WFC and more than $10 million dollars have been distributed to low- and moderate-income San Francisco tax filers since the inception of the WFC in 2005.
“Many San Francisco residents who were impacted by the pandemic are still struggling to make ends meet. In this current economic environment, especially in San Francisco, every extra dollar helps families in the City,” said Mayor London Breed. “The City’s free tax prep service helps eligible individuals file their taxes at no cost, and also helps families apply for tax credits, like the Working Families Credit, which can make a real difference for families trying to stretch their dollars to the end of the month.”
Free Tax Assistance
On average, American taxpayers spend over $230 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.
To make it easier for San Franciscans to file their taxes, 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. Additionally, SFHSA is providing free tax assistance at two SFHSA locations (170 Otis Street and 3120 Mission Street).
The free tax preparation program is available to everyone who qualifies, including but not limited to those with incomes under $64,000 in 2023, 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 Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), Child Tax Credits, and the WFC.
To have their taxes prepared, San Francisco tax filers should present income documents from all jobs worked throughout 2023 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 counseling. The deadline to file is April 15, 2024 and while nearly all free tax sites close after that date, tax refunds can be claimed all year without penalty.
San Francisco's Working Families Credit
Established by Cisneros in 2005, the Working Families Credit was one of the first, and still remains as one of only a handful of tax credits administered by localities.
“We created the Working Families Credit to encourage every eligible family to take advantage of the federal and now State Earned Income Tax Credit,” said José Cisneros, San Francisco Treasurer. “As we celebrate this milestone, we must continue to advocate for the reinstatement of the Child Tax Credit and other ways to support San Francisco families to build wealth.”
Administered today by SFHSA, the WFC is a $250 tax credit for tax ﬁlers with children who qualify for the federal or state EITC and live in San Francisco. SFHSA uses IRS and California Franchise Tax Board filings to conﬁrm applicants' eligibility for the WFC and qualifying families receive a $250 check or bank deposit. WFC recipients—as well as other low- and moderate-income San Franciscans working toward financial stability and to build wealth—can also get free or discounted banking services, financial counseling, and free tax preparation services.
Tax Credits: Proven Poverty Fighters
Millions of Californians do not file their taxes, and therefore, do not get their tax credits and refunds each year, leaving billions of dollars unclaimed. However, tax credits and refunds can provide life-changing monetary resources: working families could get back as much as $9,600 by applying for all earned income credits available to them. Even though $9,600 includes only the federal and state EITCs and the $250 WFC—child tax credits could add another $4,600. Individuals and families with no income are encouraged to file their taxes because there are some financial assistance payments that can only be received through tax filing.
“Tax credits are an effective tool to get additional money into households that desperately need it. Our clients and many community members have a great deal to gain if they file their taxes, even though many may not be required to do so,” said Trent Rhorer, SFHSA Executive Director. “We’re urging City residents with incomes under $64,000 to come to our offices or other free tax sites around San Francisco for help with filing their taxes and claiming the refunds owed them.”
Undocumented and mixed-status immigrant households who pay taxes but only have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) are encouraged to file taxes to get the refunds that are available to them. Importantly, the California Earned Income Tax Credit and the WFC are both available to taxpayers filing with anITIN, providing sources of hard-earned financial assistance that often sits unclaimed.
FHSA is also partnering with United Way Bay Area, John Burton Advocates for Youth, San Francisco Independent Living Skills Program/First Place for Youth, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a campaign led by San Francisco CASA to provide free tax services and resources to help foster youth file their taxes. Foster and former foster youth can register online to get tax support from SF CASA.
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, the City encourages people to call ahead to schedule an appointment, as tax prep assistance is in high demand, or drop by between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday:
- 170 Otis Street – (415) 209-5143
- 3120 Mission Street – (415) 487-3240
Due to high volume, some locations may be drop-off only and may not be able to complete the filing process on the same day. If same-day tax preparation is needed, please check which tax sites offer that service by calling 2-1-1, reviewing the site information shown on the UWBA.org free tax help map, contacting a tax site directly, or asking a tax preparer before they start a tax return.