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Volunteers Offer Free Tax Preparation to Some Santa Barbara County Residents

Photo by United Way of Santa Barbara County
Volunteer Rich Walter (right) is assisting Ori Alves prepare his taxes.

With tax season underway, some Santa Barbara County residents are getting help filing their returns.

Families and individuals who earned less than $62,000 last year qualify for free tax preparation. The United Way of Santa Barbara County runs this Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

James Hamilton, a CPA, said he spends his Saturdays volunteering to prepare tax returns for many needy families.

“Because every 30 to 60 minutes you’re finishing a tax return, you really get a lot of wins. You get the feeling of accomplishment because when that tax return is prepared, it’s done and you move onto the next one. It’s a completed project,” he said.

Last year, volunteers prepared more than 3,000 returns and secured more than $3 million in refunds.

Services are available through April 15th at seven sites throughout the County including the United Way in Santa Barbara, Goleta Valley Community Center and Santa Ynez High School.