Tax-Aid, a 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1988 by a coalition of Bay Area accountants and lawyers with the mission of assisting, without charge, low income taxpayers in connection with the preparation of their tax returns.
The catalyst for the founding of Tax-Aid was the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Tax-Aid’s founders recognized that low-income families who could suddenly benefit from filing their tax returns to receive a refund had a significant barrier. Because of the complexities of filing a tax return, they were unlikely to file unless the service of tax preparation was offered to them at no cost. To ensure that these families received the refunds they earned, the founders recruited their colleagues to volunteer their time to prepare tax returns and built an organization rooted in skills-based volunteering.
In the 2016 filing season, Tax-Aid’s core tax program accomplished the following:
- 853 volunteers were recruited and trained
- they prepared 3,832 returns for clients
- these clients received over $3,892,900 in refunds
- some refunds were over $4,500
- the average adjusted gross income of Tax-Aid’s clients is $22,271
- Tax-Aid served clients in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, and Alameda.