March 15, 2017, is VITA Awareness Day. Each year, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program puts billions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income taxpayers nationwide. In 2015, CFED launched their first-ever VITA Awareness Day to call attention to the importance of VITA programs in the communities they serve. CFED has engaged partners and advocates, like SCACED, across the country to help raise the profile of community tax preparation.
Below are some interesting data points that CFED has shared in regards to VITA programs in South Carolina. During the 2015 filing season alone, they:
- Stimulated the local economy by helping taxpayers receive $39,589,030 in tax refunds – which will be recirculated in the state
- Filed more than 39,288 federal tax returns and 39,685 state tax returns
- Helped hard-working families file 8,842 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims for a total of $12,030,053 – and in the process, given that the average EITC tax filer spends $400 on tax preparation, saved low-income EITC taxpayers approx. $3,536,800 that would have otherwise been spent on paid tax preparers
- Helped 3,746 struggling families receive a total of $4,617,146 to offset childcare expenses and better support their children
The CFED believes that promoting community tax preparation is especially important in South Carolina since Senator Tim Scott sits on the Senate Finance committee that is instrumental to advancing federal VITA legislation. To support these efforts, you can contact Senator Scott and encourage him to co-sponsor S. 193, the VITA bill that would increase access to VITA services for low-income and under-served populations.