United Way Offers Free Tax Preparation Services for Local Residents in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara, CA, January 31, 2024 – United Way is celebrating the launch of the 12th annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax filing services to local qualifying residents throughout Santa Barbara County.

The 2024 VITA program will run from Tuesday, February 6th to April 15th, 2024, at participating locations, including preparation sites at Transition House in downtown Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Eastside Branch, and Santa Barbara City College. Participating volunteers are IRS-certified tax preparers, and can help households prepare, and electronically file their tax returns. VITA volunteers can also assist with Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) applications and renewals.

“The VITA program helped me through the [tax filing] process completely free of charge. Thanks to this program, I was able to complete my taxes accurately and on time and established my first-ever savings with the refund I received.” – VITA Participant

Last year’s program served over 3,600 households, returning over $2M in tax refunds to the local Santa Barbara community in 2023. This partnership of 13 local nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, and more than 150 volunteers is part of the United for Financial Empowerment Initiative. Since 2012, the partnership has been working to target the needs of local families in establishing a more resilient financial foundation.

“We are very grateful for each of the volunteers who come together each year to provide this valuable resource to our community,” said Frances Contreras, director of programs and partnerships at United Way. “With their continued support, thousands of families will have access to the program again this year and can rest assured that they’re getting high-quality and comprehensive service and support to help them navigate what can often be a complicated and challenging process.”

The VITA program will kick off Friday, February 2nd at the Tacos & Taxes event, co-hosted by Golden State Opportunity, United Way of Santa Barbara County, State Senator Monique Limón, Assemblymember Gregg Hart, and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Laura Capps.

For questions about the VITA program, to learn more about becoming a volunteer, or to find other program details, please contact United Way at 805-965-8591 or visit www.unitedwaysb.org/VITA


2024 Tax Preparation Sites:


United Way of Santa Barbara County

Tuesdays & Wednesdays | 1-4pm (AARP)

Saturdays | 9am-1pm

320 East Gutierrez Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101


Eastside Library

Tuesdays & Wednesdays | 4-7pm

1102 E Montecito St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Transition House

Every other Wednesday starting February 14 | 4-7pm

2/14, 2/28, 3/13, 3/27, 4/10

425 E Cota St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101


SBCC Schott Center

Mondays & Thursdays | 4-7pm

310 W Padre St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105


Goleta Valley Community Center (AARP)

Fridays | 9am-12pm; 1-4pm

5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117


UC Santa Barbara

Saturdays | 9am-3pm

UC Santa Barbara, Phelps Hall, Room 1517


Carpinteria Children’s Project

March 16 & April 13 | 9am-2pm

5201 8th St., Carpinteria, CA 93013

Appointments AND Walk-Ins Accepted: https://calendly.com/vita24/ccp


People Helping People

March 23 | 9am-2pm

545 Alisal Rd. #102, Solvang, CA 93463

Appointments AND Walk-Ins Accepted: https://calendly.com/vita24/php


Required Documentation:

  • Proof of identification (driver’s license, state photo ID or other government-issued identification that includes a photo) Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted if you do not have a Social Security number
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
  • Social Security Benefit Statements (SSA-1099), if applicable
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable

*To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms

About United Way of Santa Barbara County

Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County 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. United Way’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.

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