Why Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Remains Vital 50 Years After Its Founding
Each year, millions of tax returns are filed by hard-working taxpayers across the country. While this is a simple task for some, it can be costly—and sometimes daunting—for lower-income households. The good news is that there’s help for any household with an annual income below $66,000. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a community resource to help low- to moderate-income households overcome the challenges of filing a tax return. VITA provides free tax preparation assistance with an accuracy rate of 94 percent, and ensures that taxpayers claim all applicable credits for which they qualify – like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. It’s also an accessible way to prepare taxes for those who might be anxious about doing it on their own.
VITA is operated by community partners through the support of a federally-funded IRS matching grant program that was recently increased to $18 million per year from $15 million, allowing the program to serve more low-income families across the country. While we celebrate the funding increase, there remain millions of people who have yet to benefit from VITA services due to current budgetary constraints. Additionally, the VITA program remains to be put into law like its sister program, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).
As we celebrate 50 years of doing good through VITA, join us in thanking Congress for the additional $3 million in funding for the current fiscal year. You can also use our VITA Awareness Day toolkit to raise awareness within your network, and to engage your members of Congress about why VITA should become law and why we need to increase funding for it.
Sign up for the Taxpayer Opportunity Network to keep up-to-date with the latest in VITA and tax preparation resources for low- and moderate-income communities.