United Way of Kern County helps locals file their taxes for free


Jenny Brito

CAL EITC E-Bus where volunteers help locals file their taxes for free.

Jenny Brito, Web & Social Media Editor

With tax day around the corner, United Way of Kern County hosted an event on Stockdale Highway to help Bakersfield locals file their taxes for free on March 7 and 8.

Hundreds of people joined volunteer tax professionals inside the California earned income tax credit, or CAL EITC, E-Bus to prepare and file Federal and State taxes electronically. The E-Bus is specially equipped with workstations as well as Wi-Fi to transmit tax returns.

Volunteers also helped people determine their eligibility for the earned income tax credit. The federal earned income tax credit is a refundable tax credit for low to moderate income individuals and couples.

Some were pleasantly surprised to find that they qualified for the refund. “I probably wouldn’t even know about this if I filed on my own. This made my whole day, my whole month” Miguel Moya, a local man who is currently unemployed, shared.

Jenny Brito
A group of volunteers ready to help locals file their taxes inside the CAL EITC E-Bus.

There was also a small resource fair to share sources of assistance with low to moderate income families. Vision y Compromiso, a local nonprofit, had information about problem gambling prevention. Another local initiative, Mariposa Con Proposito, tried to reach local Latinas to offer them free training and support for their professional and personal lives. The Kern County Homeless Collaborative also shared information about services to help people find employment and housing.

In addition to all resources, those in attendance could get as many free tacos as they wanted. Tacos were provided by Jesus Victoria Mendez and music played by DJ Choco.

Marja Lopez, a single mother of two who attended the event, said that the tax credit will help her afford some of her children’s basic needs. “I’ll have more money to buy food, snacks, and medicines that can be expensive,” she shared.

Others admitted that they attended the event for other reasons. Luis Rios, 26, said that he did not know there was an event going on in the vicinity, but he was glad to see his neighbors getting help. “To be honest, I came here because of the smell. Then, I found out they had free tacos!”