A friendly reminder: federal taxes must be filed by midnight on Tuesday, April 17. As the end of tax season nears, the City of Santa Barbara Housing Authority is providing some help to make taxes easier to file.
In addition to opening two free income tax preparation centers, the Housing Authority-in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program-offers families and individuals with an annual income of $39,000 a variety of resources, including help in preparing the following forms:
- 1040 EZ, 1040 A with schedules 1, 2, 3 & EIC
- 1040 with schedule A, B, EIC & R
- Form 2441 (Child and Dependants Care Credit)
- Form 8863 (Education Credits)
- Form 8812 (Additional Child Tax Credit)
The Housing Authority’s Tax Preparation Centers are at the Family Opportunity Center at 526 West Montecito Street and at Paseo Voluntario Learning Center, at 309 South Voluntario Street. The centers are open Monday through Thursday, from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., between February 1, 2007 and April 16, 2007. To make an appointment for the Family Opportunity Center, call 730-1188. For the Paseo Voluntario Learning Center, call 966-6581.
In addition to the free centers, the Housing Authority also offers the following 2006 Income Tax Tips:
1) Report all sources of income: employment wages, self-employment earnings, and unemployment and interest income.
2) Clothes or household items donated after Aug. 17, 2006, must be in “good used condition or better” to be claimed as a deduction. One exception is for items in “less-than-good condition” that are appraised at $500 or more.
3) Claim energy-saving improvements you made in 2006. Improvements to your primary residential home can claim credits from $50 to $4,000. Claim a new car like a hybrid or light truck, which runs on electricity and gasoline, if purchased in 2006.
4) Bring all pertinent information with you if you choose a VITA center or professional tax preparer to file taxes: last year’s tax-return, W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, and your childcare provider information.
5) Claim Child Tax Credit, in addition to child and dependent care expense credit, if your child qualifies.
6) Claim Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if you work and earn an income under certain thresholds. This usually means more money in your pocket if you:
- Earned less than $12,120 ($14,120 if married filing jointly) and did not have an any qualifying children
- Earned less than $32,001 ($34,001 if married filing jointly) and have one qualifying child
- Earned less than $36,348 ($38,348 if married filing jointly) and have more than one qualifying child
7) Get a one-time tax refund of previously collected federal telephone excise taxes. Request it on your 2006 federal income tax return if you paid long-distance excise taxes on landline or cell phone. Request a refund of the actual federal excise tax you paid based upon your telephone bills for the period beginning March 1, 2003 through July 31, 2006. Or request the standard refund amount ranging from $30-$60 based upon the number of exemptions you claim on your individual income tax return.
8) Choose a tax preparer wisely. If using a paid tax preparer, find a qualified tax professional. You are ultimately responsible for everything on your return.
9) Go to the IRS website for detailed tax information and forms at www.IRS.gov (or for Spanish, www.IRS.gov/Espa±ol. Interactive applications are also available to in determine eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, calculating withholding, and learning the status of your refund.
10) Call the IRS customer service number at 1-800-829-1040