Rep. Tonko Joins United Way and CA$H Coalition to Kickoff VITA Tax Prep and Highlight 16th Annual EITC Awareness Day
Friday, January 28, 2022 | Albany, NY — Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) visited the Blake Annex in Downtown Albany to join partners from United Way of the Greater Capital Region and the CA$H Coalition of the Greater Capital Region to kickoff the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax prep season and mark the 16th Annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. VITA is a safe and reliable way for individuals to get their taxes prepared for free. And, the EITC has been cited as one of the most effective tools lifting working families out of poverty.
“VITA is a crucial resource for so many in our communities as we enter the tax filing season,” Congressman Tonko said. “The assistance provided at events like these will help Capital Region residents prepare their returns and claim the important benefits they need and deserve, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the expanded Child Tax Credit. I’m so pleased to partner with United Way of the Greater Capital Region to help deliver these resources for our families and I thank them for their powerful work in service to our region.”
This year’s expanded Child Tax Credit has cut childhood poverty in half. Many of those benefits have been paid in advance but this year’s VITA volunteers have undergone additional trainings to make sure taxpayers receive as much of the tax credit that is due to them.
“Each year, the VITA program and our volunteers helps thousands of individuals prepare and file their taxes for free, saving filers millions in preparation fees and returning millions more to the Capital Region economy,” said United Way of the Greater Capital Region President & CEO, Peter Gannon. “Last year in the Capital Region VITA volunteers returned nearly $1,000,000 alone in missed stimulus payments that went to families across our communities to help mitigate some of the worst financial impacts of the Covid-19 crisis.”
To protect the health and safety of community members, partners and volunteers, most VITA sites will be offering a virtual option this year. VITA sites this season are allowing same-day preparation, virtual preparation, or a combination of both. Appointments for tax preparation services are required and can be made by calling 2-1-1 or by calling your site directly. The full list of sites with contact information is available at www.GetFreeTaxPrep.org.
“Individuals may face new challenges this year due to COVID-19 including how to receive their stimulus or child tax credit money if they haven’t already received it,” said Andrew Kochian, CA$H Coalition Program Manager. “Our VITA volunteers are prepared to handle these challenges.”