The passage of this legislation is a major win for the United Way network, and for millions of low and moderate income Americans.
VITA started 50 years ago, and since 2008 it has been classified as a demonstration pilot program – requiring an authorization from Congress every year. Now, the program will be permanently authorized.
380 United Ways fund, operate, or support VITA programs in their communities. And the VITA program as a whole prepared returns for 1.3 million people, bringing back $1.9 billion dollars to the pockets of working families in 2018.
Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers help individuals that earn less than $55,000 a year to claim refundable tax credits—the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Recipients of these credits use the boost in income to pay for things like reliable transportation to work, childcare, or groceries. Children in families that receive the EITC tend to better in school, have a better chance of going to college and experience better health outcomes.
60 network leaders, many of whom represent VITA United Ways, were on the Hill on Thursday, June 13th as a part of the United Way Tax Policy Forum and Capitol Hill Day. They were there to advocate for this legislation, and to expand the refundable tax credits for many of the same folks who are VITA clients.
Legislation aimed at making the VITA program permanent has been introduced multiple times over many years. In some cases, those bills passed one chamber of Congress but never made it across the finish line.
By Caitlan Arenas Martinez
For more information about the United Way, visit www.forsythunitedway.org
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United Way of Forsyth County brings the community and its resources together to solve problems that no one organization can address alone.