La Luz Center is offering free income tax preparation to Sonoma Valley families with incomes up to $60,000 a year. The tax assistance is available in English and Spanish and is provided by community volunteers.
The tax help is part of the Earn it! Keep It! Save It! Program (EKS) for low-income people funded by the IRS. La Luz is part of a coalition of EKS tax services that was formed by United Way of the Wine Country in Santa Rosa.
This year, La Luz is providing additional services with its tax preparation that include advice on saving and managing finances and enrolment in programs like CalFresh for food assistance and Covered CA for healthcare.
Since La Luz joined the EKS coalition in 2009, its tax assistance program has seen more than $100,000 in tax refunds made to Sonoma Valley residents each year. This season La Luz has so far filed tax returns for 20 families. Its goal is to return $225,000 to the Springs community.
“There is nothing like seeing the look on a struggling mother of two’s face when she learns she will get a $5,000 refund, or of a college student who will get $1,000 back that will help pay for tuition,” said Juan Hernandez, executive director of La Luz. “The impact is tremendous, and our volunteers feel like they are making a difference.”