TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 2023 tax season kicks off on Monday when the IRS begins accepting returns.
Local agencies are also gearing up to help people file.
Community Services Employment Training, or CSET, will host its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA program.
Starting February 5th through the first week of April, they will offer free tax preparation at locations in Visalia, Porterville, Tulare, Earlimart, and Cutler.
"We live in a very poor community, and sometimes these resources are sparse or rare, and we are bringing the services to you, and we get to use this," says CSET Director Raquel Gomez-Collins.
VITA helps anyone who makes under 60,000 dollars a year and even offers drop-off services.
The need is great.
Last year, the program helped over 4,000 families file.
"Our whole focus is to alleviate poverty for our community, so all of our critical resources are essential for our families, especially low-income and moderate-income families," explains Micaela Lara-Lopez, Communications Coordinator at CSET.
Among new tax changes this year- state and federal credits for lower-income workers.
That includes anyone who makes under $30,950 a year.
There are also new child and foster youth tax credits.
Tax preparers take the time to sit down with clients and explain the process during their appointments.
"We want to build a capacity and knowledge among our difficult-to-serve community," expresses Raquel.
CSET also encourages everyone with an ITEN number to utilize their resources.
There is also a need for volunteers.
Last year, over one hundred volunteers helped make VITA possible.
"We are relying on retired people, people who want to learn new skills, maybe they've been displaced at a job, or they want to learn something different. This is a great place to do that," mentions Raquel.
Volunteers will learn to prepare taxes.
In addition to helping others, the volunteers often get connected to potential job opportunities.
The next VITA training will happen at the CSET office in Visalia this upcoming Saturday from nine to three.
Training videos will also be available online for those who can't make it but wish to help.
To learn more about volunteering visit here.