SANTA BARBARA — United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) and the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) partner up to provide helpful services & resources to residents throughout Santa Barbara County for tax season. Tax season is here and low to moderate income Santa Barbara County residents are invited to take advantage of putting more money back in their pockets with the help of UWSBC’s and HACSB’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
HACSB started the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for Housing Authority clients twenty years ago in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Approximately thirteen years ago, HACSB partnered with UWSBC and formed the Financial Empowerment Partnership. Since UWSBC took over the management of the program, the two organizations have worked together to broaden its impact, serving more residents countywide. Since inception, the program has grown to seven VITA sites and ten community partners: Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, United Way Santa Barbara County, AARP, UC Santa Barbara, Immigrant Hope, People Helping People, Carpinteria Children’s Project, Santa Barbara Public Library, County of Santa Barbara and John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY).
From February 6th to April 18th, volunteers at VITA sites throughout the community will provide free tax filing services to local residents making $67,000 or less annually. IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Last year, volunteers filed 2,784 tax returns and gave back over $2,678,237 in federal refunds to local community members.
This year, the VITA program is focused on increasing community awareness of available tax credits to qualifying households. In Santa Barbara County, only 70% of qualifying households take advantage of credits like the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), an annual tax credit of up to $3,417 for individuals making below $30,000 annually. Program goals for 2023 include closing that gap and securing those funds through tax refunds for households and families who qualify.
VITA Locations & Hours (February 6 to April 18 2023)
935 San Andres Street
Mondays & Wednesdays | 12PM – 4:30PM
1102 E. Montecito Street
Tuesdays & Thursdays | 3PM – 7PM
Goleta Valley Community Center
5679 Hollister Ave.
Fridays | 9AM – 12PM, 1PM – 4 PM (AARP)
UC Santa Barbara
Psychology East, Room 1805 Fridays | 1:30PM – 4:30PM
Phelps Hall, Room 1513 Saturdays | 12:30PM – 3:30PM
Carpinteria Children’s Project
5201 8th Street
Day of Operation: Saturday, February 25 | 9AM – 2PM
People Helping People
545 Alisal Road #102 Solvang, CA
Days of Operation: Saturday, March 4 | 9AM – 2PM
United Way of Santa Barbara County
320 E. Gutierrez St.
Tuesdays & Wednesdays | 1:00PM – 4:00PM (AARP)
Saturdays | 9AM – 1PM
About United Way of Santa Barbara County
Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has been a key leader in local efforts to empower children, families, and communities through its own unique collaborative programs and initiatives, partnership convening efforts, volunteer development, and funding. UWSBC’s mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org.
About Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is a local public agency created for the purpose of providing safe, decent, and quality affordable housing and supportive services to eligible persons with limited incomes, through a variety of federal, state, local and private resources. Since 1969, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has developed and/or secured over 4,000 units of affordable rental housing for Santa Barbara through a variety of federal, state, local and private funding sources. For more information, please visit hacsb.org.