Staff Report

With the clock ticking toward the April 15 deadline,  United Way of Santa Barbara County is offering free, bilingual tax preparation centers at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and at other locations around the county for families and individuals who earned less than $66,000 in 2018.

In 2018, more than 100 volunteers through UWSBC’s United for Financial Empowerment Partnership prepared more than 2,100 returns, securing more than $2.3 million in refunds for participants.

The assistance is being offered during evening, day and weekend hours to accommodate as many residents as possible. Each Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) location is staffed by trained, experienced, IRS-certified volunteers who provide free income tax return preparation and E-Filing to help residents receive their tax refunds that help improve financial stability.

“Tax preparation can seem like an intimidating process, but our volunteers can help turn this into a financially empowering learning experience,” said Steve Ortiz, UWSBC president and CEO. “There’s no need to fear or put off tax preparation. The expertise to get it done right and set yourself up for success is right here, free of charge.”

In particular, volunteers are looking to ensure that even more working families benefit from California’s recently expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Tax preparation services will be available at the following sites through April 15:

  • Santa Ynez High School (Room E-1), 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, March 9 and April 6. Appointments available by calling 805-686-0295.
  • United Way (320 E. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara) 1-4 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Santa Barbara High School (700 E. Anapamu St., Room 71), 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays (closed March 27)
  • Goleta Valley Community Center (5679 Hollister Ave.) 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. Fridays
  • Franklin Neighborhood Center (1136 Montecito St., Santa Barbara), 6-9 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Police Activities League (1235 Chapala St., Santa Barbara), 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays
  • Carpinteria Children’s Project (5201 8th St., Room 312), 4-6:15 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Feb. 20.
  • UCSB at Phelps Hall, Rooms 1525 and SSMS 1301; 1:30-4:30 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 15-March 8, and at the Student Resource Building (SRB) Computer Lab, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 24.

For more information and a comprehensive list of sites and operating hours, visit