QCAP Kicks Off VITA Free Tax Program
Program Helps Low-Income Families Save Millions Every Year
Quincy, MA – Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP) kicked off its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a free tax preparation service for low-to-moderate income individuals and families. Now through April 14th, QCAP will help local families access millions of dollars in tax refunds, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
“The EITC and other tax credits have been noted as some of the most critical programs in operation to fight poverty,” said Kristen Schlapp, Director of QCAP’s Adult Education and Workforce Development programs. “Our clients are often walking a financial tightrope, and can use their refunds to pay down debt or bills, or, with the help of our free tax counseling, they can start to invest their refunds.”
The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, or who qualified for QCAP’s fuel assistance program and who are full-year residents of Massachusetts. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals, including the Federal Form 1040 and MA Form 1.
There are approximately 80 VITA sites operating across the state, run by Community Action Agencies like QCAP and other community-based organizations and colleges. Together they serve more than 30,000 low income tax payers, helping them to access over $60 million in tax refunds. A further benefit of the VITA program is that those who qualify save over $4.5 million by not going to fee-for-service tax preparation sites. Last year, QCAP provided free tax preparation assistance to more than 700 low-income residents, helping them to claim more than $1.1 million in tax credits.
The VITA program is also an important bridge to other services and resources than can help families maximize their income and gain financial stability. QCAP’s VITA program will help its clients access its Financial REACH Program – which provides financial capability services and job search and placement – food, fuel, and housing assistance, adult education, and early education and care programs, in addition to a host of other community resources.
“Even though a client may first contact us for help with their taxes, they may be eligible for a number of other services and resources, helping them to stretch their income, and gain solid financial footing,” said Beth Ann Strollo, QCAP’s Chief Executive Officer. “This service integration approach is a hallmark of community action agencies.”
QCAP’s VITA program runs Thursdays 5:30 to 8:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, January 25th through April 14th, 2018 on the Fourth Floor of its 1509 Hancock Street, Quincy location. Residents may call to make an appointment at 617.657.5345. Walk-ins also welcome. For more information, visit www.qcap.org or contact 617.657.5345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The VITA Program is supported through a grant from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) IRS through Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP), the United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley, and private contributions.