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Your Tax Questions Answered

January 26, 2023

A Guide to Free Tax Help and Tax Credit

3 Minute Read

Are you feeling overwhelmed or confused about the tax filing process? You’re not alone! But don’t worry, there’s good news. Our volunteers are ready with plenty of resources to help you navigate the process and maybe even increase your refund. In this guide, we’ll be answering some of the most asked questions about United Way Bay Area Free Tax Help preparation services and of course – tax credits.

So, let’s get started maximizing your refund!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What should I bring to the tax site?

Take a look here for a list of what to bring!

Q: What if I’m missing my W2?

Here are two ways you can access your W2s:

  • Contact your previous employers and ask them to send you your W2s.
  • Order copies of your tax records including transcripts of past tax returns and wage statements from the IRS.

Q: I haven’t received my IP PIN letter. What can I do?

You can retrieve or generate your IP PIN via the IRS site here. To do so, click the “Get an IP PIN” button on the page.

Q: My refund is lower than last year. Why?

You’ll want to compare your tax return from last year and your tax return from this year side-by-side. If you bring your tax return to your tax site, your tax team can point out where the differences are. Many of the expansions during the pandemic to tax credits like the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit were temporary and are reverting to prior tax law on the 2022 tax return.

Q: When is the due date for the 2022 tax return?

Most taxpayers across the country generally have until April 18, 2023 to file their 2022 return. California storm victims in specific counties automatically now have until May 15, 2023 to file their individual tax returns and make tax payments. The IRS is offering relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This means that individuals and households that reside in our 8 San Francisco Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra County, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano — qualify for tax relief.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for a specific tax credit?

You can have one of our tax sites prepare and e-file your tax return for you! Find a tax site near you.

Q: What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit that may give you money back at tax time or lower the federal taxes you owe. You can claim the credit whether you’re single or married, or have children or not. The main requirement is that you must earn money from a job. For tax year 2022, the Federal EITC is worth up to $6,935.

The State of California also has its own EITC, called CalEITC. For tax year 2022, the CalEITC is worth up to $3,417.

The Federal and State credits can eliminate any tax you owe at tax time. If the EITC amount is more than what you owe in taxes, you get the money back in your tax refund. If you qualify for the credit, you can still receive a refund even if you do not owe income tax.

Q: I filed my taxes but still haven’t received my federal refund yet. What can I do?

Use the IRS Where’s My Refund page to check the status of your federal refund. To check, you will need your social security number or ITIN, your filing status (example: single, married filing jointly, etc.), and your exact refund amount — the amount of money that your tax preparer or tax software told you to expect.

Q: How can I get copies of my tax returns from previous years?

If you are looking for a past federal tax return, you can obtain prior year tax return transcripts on the IRS Get Transcript webpage.

As for CA state return, you may be able to obtain a copy from the CA Franchise Tax Board. See details State of California Franchise Tax Board site .

Regardless of your tax situation, there are resources available, at no cost, to help you file your taxes correctly and maximize your refund. For more information on free tax preparation services, and to take advantage of these resources, visit our Free Tax Help website and find the nearest location to you. Don’t wait, file your taxes with confidence and get the refund you deserve.