CA$H Coalition of the Greater Capital Region Launches 2023 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
On Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, UWGCR, Catholic Charities and their partners kicked off VITA season, which enables thousands of residents to file their taxes for free.
Albany, NY | Friday, January 27 – United Way of the Greater Capital Region (UWGCR), Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and their partners in the Greater Capital Region CA$H Coalition kicked off the 2023 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program on Friday morning at The Blake Annex in Downtown Albany. VITA is a completely free service that offers thousands of Capital Region residents a completely safe and secure way to file their taxes each year.
“Thanks to the loyalty of our tremendous volunteers and partners in the CA$H Coalition, VITA continues to be a resource that saves Capital Region residents millions in filing fees, returning those funds back into the local economy,” said Peter Gannon, UWGCR’s President and CEO. “By making it easier to claim the money they’ve already earned, the program is one the most effective tools for lifting working families and individuals out of poverty.”
In 2022, 4,300 Capital Region residents filed their taxes through VITA, receiving more than $7.5 million back in refunds. The program saved these individuals and families nearly $1.3 million in tax prep fees.
"Not only does VITA provide people in need with a simple, timely, and free way to file their taxes, it returns millions of dollars to the Capital Region in tax returns, supporting our local economy,” said Jennifer Hyde, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. “At Catholic Charities, we are thrilled to partner with the United Way of the Greater Capital Region and other CA$H Coalition partners to make this program possible. It is an invaluable resource, especially for the people we serve."
The VITA kickoff was held on the IRS’s 17th Annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. While Capital Region residents who filed through VITA received more than $1.8 million back in Earned Income Tax Credits last year, the IRS estimates that 20 percent of eligible U.S. filers aren’t claiming it on their returns. VITA volunteers are specifically trained to determine if a person or family qualifies for the EITC, ensuring they receive all the money they’re eligible for.
“VITA serves as a critical tool for individuals and families here in our Capital Region and beyond, providing free tax preparation services for those who need them most,” Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY 20) said. “My thanks to the CA$H Coalition, Catholic Charities, and the United Way of the Greater Capital Region for hosting this event and raising awareness of these important resources.”
To make VITA more accessible, the CA$H Coalition offers free tax prep at nearly 20 locations in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Schoharie Counties this year. Many of these sites offer same-day and virtual preparation or a combination of both.
Appointments can be made by dialing 2-1-1 or by calling sites directly. A full list of locations is available at www.GetFreeTaxPrep.org.
Anyone interested in volunteering with VITA is encouraged to visit irs.gov and type “VITA” into the search bar.
Following Friday’s announcement, local tax experts participated in a virtual information panel, during which they detailed the different ways residents can benefit from VITA, as well as the opportunities for volunteers to get involved. The full discussion can be viewed at facebook.com/CASHGCR.