Tax help offered to SLO County residents through California Central Coast Tax Coalition

The California Central Coast Tax Coalition is offering various forms of free assistance with income tax filing.

Participating organizations include Cal Poly, the AARP and the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo. Services include tax preparation and representation in a tax controversy.

In an example of such help discussed at an oncampus event Thursday, Cal Poly business accounting student Mariana Hernandez offered her expertise to a low-income, Spanish-speaking woman who lost two properties to foreclosure and faced $25,000 in tax payments.

Hernandez took on the case and felt the assessment was incorrect. She challenged the tax and ultimately settled the matter with the Internal Revenue Service to attain a $700 tax refund for the woman.

Advocate Danijela Dornan said her organization helped a woman to pay for child care through a tax refund.

“This is just one of numerous positive stories we could tell about the people who have benefited from the coalition,” Dornan said. “We urge people to seek our help.”

According to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties had a combined $14 million in unclaimed earned income tax credits.

Seniors, low-income people, identity theft victims, and nonnative English speakers are among the thousands of locals who have benefited.

For information about the coalition, visit http://www.taxhelp211.org or call 211.