The Consumer Credit Counseling Service Niagara County Financial Literacy & Empowerment Coalition has run a VITA FREE Tax Prep Program for the past 7 years. VITA (it stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) helps low income individuals and families file their taxes—and access eligible tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which ranges from $506-$6,269. It saves people hundreds of dollars in unnecessary tax preparation fees and helps them avoid refund anticipation loans and inflated filing fees.
The average cost of tax prep is around $300 and refund anticipation loans typically cost about $200 per filer. This makes the cost of filing taxes $500 or more!
This problem is compounded by the plentiful for profit tax prep companies that specifically operate in low income neighborhoods, making it so easy for people to get their taxes done…as long as they ignore the high cost. There are over 40 of these predatory companies in Niagara Falls and Lockport and sadly only a few FREE Tax Prep Programs like ours.
VITA services ensure that low income families can easily and properly access the money they are entitled to. In 2020, some VITA programs helped with accessing stimulus payments as well.
In these uncertain times, VITA should be a steady source of help for families.
We are asking you to advocate for increased VITA funding, during this pandemic and into the future.
Specifically, we are calling for full VITA funding at $30 million.
Will you please take a minute and let your members of Congress hear from you and how important VITA is to your community???
It’s really easy!!
Here is a little more info
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently released their draft 2021 funding bill, which calls for full VITA funding at $30 million! Earlier this year, the House released a $28 million VITA funding proposal for 2021. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program relies on federal funding from Congress every year, so take a moment to send our pre-drafted email below to your Members of Congress and request that they support the Senate funding proposal for VITA.