16th Middlesex State Representative Rodney Elliott and Community Teamwork Incorporated CEO Karen Frederick will be among the dignitaries on hand as the 2024 MASSCAP Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) kickoff takes place Friday morning at CTI Headquarters in Lowell.
The event will be live streamed on MASSCAP’s YouTube Channel, with the program scheduled to begin at 10am. It will include important messages about the updates to the program and tax credits, its impact and importance as well as the need to raise awareness during this challenging time when so many are counting on the resources that VITA sites can help them access through free tax preparation.
The MASSCAP VITA program is run by 21 Community Action Agencies with more than 30 sites. It is underwritten by state resources through the Department of Revenue and a core two-year grant from the US Internal Revenue Service along with private and public resources raised at each Community Action Agency.The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) administered by Community Action Agencies (CAAs) annually helps thousands of wage earners access millions of dollars in tax refunds, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In Massachusetts, CAAs help more than 15,000 low-income taxpayers benefit from more than $26 million in tax refunds.
There are approximately 80 VITA sites operating across the state, run by Community Action Agencies and other community-based organizations and colleges. Together they serve over 30,000 low-income taxpayers, helping them to access over $60 million in tax refunds.
At VITA sites, volunteers not only provide free tax prep and access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the new Child and Family Tax Credit (CFTC) and other credits to low-income taxpayers allowing them to pay bills, cover essential needs such as rent, save, and plan for the future, but also link them to other critical services strengthening families and the local economy.
The volunteers are the heart and soul of the VITA program. They are IRS Certified experts who volunteer their time to help to ensure timely, accurate returns as well as full access to tax credits and savings programs.
The Earned Income Tax Credit has been called one of the most successful antipoverty programs. It bridges the wage gap – since the late 1970’s wages have not kept up with productivity and many working people have trouble meeting their basic needs. The EITC, along with other tax credits, has been shown to improve infant health outcomes, employment rates of single mothers, child educational achievement, and future earnings. In addition, the state EITC was increased from 30 to 40% for tax year 2023. January 26 is also national Earned Income Tax Awareness Day.