1. Non-spoiler alert: VITA turns 50 this year!
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program began operation in 1969, and provides free, high-quality tax preparation for low to moderate-income taxpayers. Currently, VITA is a matching grant program powered by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers.
2. VITA brings back billions of dollars to communities across the country.
VITA’s stellar volunteer preparers help hardworking Americans access the credits they’ve earned, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. These refundable credits allow recipients to become financially stable by expanding their income enough to pay for rent, reliable transportation to work, and groceries. In 2018, thousands of VITA volunteers prepared millions of returns, and bringing back $1.9 billion to communities across the country. In Southeast Louisiana, VITA returns for 2018 totaled over $11.6 million.
3. Congress recently increased funding for the VITA program.
In the latest spending package to pass Congress (FY19), funding for the VITA program was increased by 20% to $18 million. We’re grateful that decision makers recognize the value of VITA and the service it provides to our community, please join us in thanking Congress for their support.
4. Most VITA programs operate at full capacity.
While the recent increase in funding was great news, the truth is that many VITA programs operate at full capacity and are not able to serve all those eligible in their communities. Therefore, we’re calling on Congress to further shore up investments in the program for Fiscal Year 2020. Join us by adding your organization to this sign-on letter, and by sending an email to your Member of Congress.
5. VITA is not a permanent program.
Since 2008, VITA has been a demonstration pilot program. Congress has to authorize it every year. We think a great 50th birthday present from Congress would be to make the program permanent! Ask your Member of Congress today.