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Associated Press

With taxes due at midnight on April 18, assistance is available for those having difficulty with their tax returns.

The California Franchise Tax Board sponsors a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program to help individuals with limited incomes complete their tax returns. Free tax preparation programs are supported by groups, like the United Way and AARP.

“When preparing income tax returns, people often run into problems or become lost in the maze of forms and rules,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). “I was proud to help create the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families, and I want to make sure every eligible person is able to receive the benefit.”

There are VITA and TCE sites throughout the area. Many offer special assistance, such as bilingual and/or shut-in services. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service has a Taxpayer Advocate Service, which provides an independent system to ensure that tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels are handled promptly and fairly. Each state and each service center has at least one taxpayer advocate who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate.

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Millions of dollars go unclaimed every year by people and families that don’t apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit that can provide thousands of dollars for working people who earn low or moderate incomes. Residents who believe they may qualify are highly encouraged to contact VITA or TCE programs nearest them.

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