The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is reaching out to the low-income community with its free tax-preparation services.

Offered in English ans Spanish, the income tax-preparation service is available to low-income families, seniors and the disabled with earnings up to $39,873. Eighteen trained volunteer tax preparers from local nonprofit organizations and businesses — including the Housing Authority, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Women’s Economic Ventures, Santa Barbara City College and UCSB — will be scouring returns for Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Care Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits and college tuition credit, which may reduce the amount owed or be refunded to the filer.

To qualify for the Earned Income Tax credit, households with no children must have earned less than 12,590 ($14,590 if filing jointly); $33,241 ($35,241 if married and filing jointly) with one child; or $37,783 ($39,783 if married and filing jointly) with two or more children.

The service is offered through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, and is a collaborative effort. The Housing Authority is providing staff, location, Internet access, materials and supplies; the IRS provides training, software and technical support; and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust is providing computers and hardware. Last year’s effort resulted in 560 tax returns filed and $471,000 in total refunds.

To participate, visit the Family Opportunity Center (805.730.1188), 526 W. Montecito St., or Paseo Voluntario Learning Center (805.966.6571), 309 S. Voluntario St. Both centers are open 5-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Walk-ins are welcome. The service will be provided until April 15.

Click here for a list of all VITA tax centers in Santa Barbara County.