California United Ways are here to help families access vital resources at a time of great need as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life for people across the state. We mobilize statewide partners to help low-income Californians get support filing their taxes and claiming tax credits that make all the difference for our most vulnerable communities. We want to update our networks with the latest developments, and provide solutions on how we can band together to support those who need it the most. 

The deadline to file and pay both state and federal taxes has been pushed back by 90 days to July 15th 2020. This applies to 2019 tax returns, 2019 tax return payments, 2020 1st and 2nd quarter estimated payments, 2020 LLC taxes and fees, and 2020 non-wage withholding payments.  Tax payers will not need to file any paperwork to qualify for this extension, and there will be no interest or penalties for filing by the new date. If at all possible, taxpayers should file their taxes online by going to www.MyFreeTaxes.org, where chat support is available 24/7 in English and Spanish. Especially for those who are expecting a refund, filing now and claiming credits such as the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit will be a quick way to get money in the pockets of those who may be struggling financially during this public health crisis. Our chatbot is an advanced AI specifically focused on assisting with a wide range of support issues such as mental health and financial stress. The Franchise Tax Board is continuing to process returns and issue refunds in a timely manner, and providing phone and live chat support to taxpayers. Additionally, texting “Taxes” to 211-211 will provide taxpayers with the latest updates. In-person volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) sites have been closed across the state indefinitely due to COVID-19. However, for those who have access to the internet and a phone, computer, or tablet; you can get support online from a trained VITA volunteer, without having to go to a physical location, by going to www.GetYourRefund.org.  

While families across the nation may be losing income, and are struggling to pay for food/rent, United Ways of California wants to make it as easy as possible to connect families to other resources that they may qualify for. Services such as Benefit Kitchen can easily determine eligibility for up to 18 other social benefits. We have also issued a State Wide Relief Fund to support those impacted by COVID-19. This fund will aid in the coordination of efforts among partners on the ground serving our most vulnerable Californians who may be experiencing hardship in quarantine or due to a loss of income. It’s our priority to ensure that our most at risk communities are staying safe, supported, connected, and informed during the COVID-19 crisis.   

Seven states boosted — or will soon boost — their Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) this year to help low-wage working families meet basic needs. These state EITC expansions will supplement the federal EITC’s well-documented long-term positive effects on children, improve racial and gender equity, and improve the nation’s economic prospects.

Gloria

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