The April 15 deadline to file taxes is just days away, but United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) is offering a last opportunity for families and individuals who earned less than $66,000 in 2018 to get free tax prep and filing assistance.

Experienced IRS-certified volunteers will be at United Way’s 320 E. Gutierrez St. office for Mega Tax Day, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 13. Free income tax-return prep and E-Filing assistance will help residents get their tax refunds and claim all available credits that can help improve financial stability.

The free tax prep services will be offered in English and Spanish.

Steve Ortiz, UWSBC president/CEO, said he is expecting a large turnout. “With the filing deadline on Monday, this is one of the last opportunities for people to get tax assistance,” he said. “We encourage anyone who qualifies and is still looking for help with their taxes to stop by our office this Saturday.

“Even those who aren’t required to file taxes based on their income may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. We’re here to answer questions and help people claim any money that’s available to them, and these services are free to the community.”

In particular, volunteers are looking to ensure even more working families benefit from California’s recently expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). With the combined federal and state credits, eligible families can get up to $6,000 back after filing their taxes.

The average combined refund for both credits is $3,000. All one needs to do to take advantage of this credit is to file state and federal tax returns. More information is available at

In 2018, more than 100 volunteers through UWSBC’s United for Financial Empowerment Partnership prepared some 2,100 returns, securing $2.3 million in refunds for participants.

For more information about United Way of Santa Barbara County and the VITA program, visit

— Andy Silverman for United Way of Santa Barbara County.