The Internal Revenue Service has awarded almost $8 million in matching grants to support its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Under the VITA Grant Program, the IRS awarded matching grants to 111 organizations that plan to offer free tax preparation sites in 2009. The sites will be located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to provide matching grants to support the VITA program. These grants can be used to expand free services to some of the millions of taxpayers served each year by these VITA sites and their volunteer tax preparers,” said Richard E. Byrd, Jr., IRS Commissioner, Wage and Investment Operating Division.
The funds will be used to:
Enable VITA programs to extend services to underserved populations and hardest to reach areas, both urban and non-urban
Increase the capacity to file returns electronically
Heighten quality control
Enhance training of volunteers
Significantly improve the accuracy of returns prepared by the VITA sites
There was an overwhelming response to the first-ever VITA grant with 379 organizations submitting applications requesting more than $30 million in matching funds.
VITA partners are organizations that provide free federal tax return preparation and electronic filing for low to moderate income individuals. For tax year 2008, individuals and families with an adjusted gross income of $42,000 are eligible for assistance.
The VITA program has enjoyed tremendous support in the years since its creation in 1969. Along with Tax Counseling for the Elderly, another volunteer return preparation program sponsored by IRS for older individuals, more than 3 million tax returns and economic stimulus payment requests were prepared and filed in 2008 at nearly 12,000 locations nationwide.
Questions may be addressed to the Grant Program at 404.338.7894 (not a toll-free call) or by e-mail at Grant.Program.Office@irs.gov.