Monday, April 13, 2009

Be a VITA volunteer.

It mid-April and that means tax season. If you’re one of those rare people who don’t mind filing your taxes (They really exist! I’ve met some!), consider volunteering to file taxes for others. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program trains and certifies people to file taxes for low- and moderate-income clients helping them take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly. The EITC is particularly important - it is one of the largest antipoverty tool in the US but one quarter of qualified working people miss out on it each year. If you’d like to help hard-working families keep more of what they earn, consider becoming a VITA Volunteer.

VITA volunteers are trained through community organizations and nonprofits throughout the country (like Southern Good Faith Fund). According to the IRS, “VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing.”

* To volunteer, call 1-800-829-1040 to find a VITA site near you. Then contact the sponsoring organization to get trained and volunteer your services during the next tax season.

* To file your taxes, call 1-800-829-1040 to find a neighborhood VITA site and see if you qualify for this free service. Hurry! It’s almost April 15th!

* The IRS also sponsors the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program which “provides free tax help to people aged 60 and older.” As part of this program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program for senior citizens of low- or moderate- income. Call 1-800-829-1040 to learn more about TCE. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit

These are great ways to serve your your neighbors and help them keep more of the money they earn and keep it working in your community. Happy filing!

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