Community Action Partnership of Riverside County’s VITA Tax Program provides free tax preparation services to low and moderate income individuals and families with income up to $75,000. We have various locations available during the tax season (January 30 to April 15th) for your convenience. Click on the links below for site locations and additional information.
If you are interested in learning a new skill for yourself, family, and community, we have opportunities for you to become a VITA Volunteer. For more information on how you can gain FREE Tax Preparation training to become a VITA certified Tax Preparer, contact Program Coordinator Marcie Johnson at (951) 955-4900.
Earned Income Tax Credit
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) sometimes called the Earned Income Credit (EIC), is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975, in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a tax return. The EITC has no effect on certain welfare benefits. In most cases, EITC payments will not be used to determine eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, low-income housing, or most Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments. The Riverside County EITC program provides year-round free tax preparation assistance through VITA to residents and encourages asset-development to help families move out of poverty.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the Child Tax Credit be this year?
The enhanced credit allowed for qualifying children under age 6 and 18 has expired. For 2022, the initial amount of the CTC is $2,000 for each qualifying child.
Who can I claim on my return?
Yourself, your spouse, and your dependent(s). The IRS defines a dependent as a qualifying child (under age 19, or under 24 if a full-time student, or any age if permanently and totally disabled) or a qualifying relative. A qualifying dependent can have income but cannot provide more than half of their own annual support.
What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low-to-moderate income workers and families get a tax break. If you qualify, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe and maybe increase your refund.
Why do you need my Social Security card?
To prevent identity theft, the IRS requires that all Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs verify the person(s) they're assisting by verifying a photo ID and viewing a paper copy of a Social Security Card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Alternatively for seniors, they can provide an SSA-1099 form the Social Security Administration issues (if it shows the entire social security number).
I didn’t get a W-2, can I use my last paystub?
No, we require the W-2 because the last paystub is missing pertinent information required for input into the software we utilize. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, to request an unmasked transcript that show the company you worked for, which will provide the company name, employer identification number, and earnings reported.
Can I claim my spouse/partner as a dependent?
No, you cannot. To get the best tax filing advantage, file as married jointly.
I filled out this paperwork last year, why do I need to do it every year?
The intake forms are updated annually to support any tax law change that has occurred; we do not keep any forms or documents from past filings which makes it necessary to redo the intake form every year.
Can I make an appointment to see someone?
Yes, we have multiple site locations during the tax season in which to choose. The updated listing is available on our website (www.capriverside.org) with the details of locations that are accepting appointments.
I did not work in 2020 and 2021; how do I get my stimulus?
You must file a 2021 tax return to claim a 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, even if you do not have a requirement to file a tax return. Please visit www.IRS.gov to download the 1040 tax form to file as a non-filer. Since there is no income, simply fill out your name, address, filing status, & dependent information then go to line 30, 33, & 35 to fill in expected stimulus payment. (The stimulus payment will be the same on all three lines.) Sign the completed return, then mail to the IRS.
Who should file a tax return?
Even if a taxpayer is not required to file a federal income tax return, they should file if any of the below apply:
- You had income tax withheld from your pay, pension, social security, or other income.
- You made estimated tax payments for the year or had any of your overpayment for last year’s estimated tax applied to this year’s taxes.
- You qualify for the earned income credit. See Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC), for more information.
- You qualify for the additional child tax credit. See the Instructions for Schedule 8812.
- You qualify for a refundable American Opportunity Credit.
- You qualify for the Premium Tax Credit.
- You received Form 1099-B and the gross proceeds plus your other income exceeds the filing limits in Chart A.
- You receive Form 1099-S, Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions.
- The Franchise Tax Board is requiring a state return to be filed, then the federal return must be filed also.
- You qualify for the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. See Form 8801, Credit for Prior Year.
How do I become a VITA Volunteer?
There are multiple steps for on-boarding to Volunteer with us. The process includes:
- Apply Online - The application can be accessed through the Better Impact App (use the VITA VOLUNTEER APPLICATION link above). Create an account and upload a copy of your ID.
- Consent & Acknowledgement - After you apply online, you will receive these forms with instructions to complete and send back to us.
- Live Scan & Accurate Background Clearance - When we receive your Consent & Acknowledgement forms, we will send you the Live Scan forms with instructions to follow (there is no cost to you).
- Mandatory 2-day Training - You may take this training during the Live Scan Background Clearance process.
- Pass the IRS Certification Test - You must receive a passing score of 80% on the open book test.
Once the Live Scan Background Clearance is complete and a passing score of 80% on the IRS Certification Test is achieved, the steps for becoming a CAP VITA Volunteer are complete. To begin this process, use the VITA VOLUNTEER APPLICATION link above.