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Become a VITA Volunteer

It’s never too late to start preparing for the following tax season. No experience is needed to become a volunteer today! You’ll receive the training and help low-to-moderate income families save hundreds of dollars in filing fees. Benefit your community while adding to your resume.

United Way of Greater Niagara’s mission is to invest in programs that focus on Education, Health and Financial Stability that deliver measurable results to improve our community today and strength it for tomorrow. United way of Greater Niagara touches over 70,000 people in the Niagara County Community every year. United Way also support 25 agencies and 42 different programs throughout the County.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo is one of United Ways 25 agencies and they sponsor Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Through VITA, the IRS provides free tax law training and materials that allow volunteers to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Training takes place in December 2018, and volunteer hours needed January 2019-April 2019. Services are conducted in Niagara Falls and Lockport. The training will include tax deductions, and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Also, free E-file Software training.

Hours are flexible and volunteers usually serve 3-5 hours a week. Over the last 3 years, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo VITA program saved low income individuals over $200,000 in tax preparation fees, and prevented taxpayers from being taken advantage of by for-profit tax preparers that may push “rapid refunds” that further drains an individual’s tax refund. In addition, over the last 3 years, nearly $900,000 has been returned to low income tax payers in the form of income tax refunds.

Most importantly, VITA sites are specially trained to ensure individuals receive Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) when eligible. VITA makes sure that people receive the full amount of tax refunds. EITC rewards work, fights poverty, while lifts more than 6 million people out of poverty each year, including 3 million children. As well as improves educational outcomes, such as children in low income households who receive the EITC perform better in school and are more likely to attend college.

The VITA program strengthens the financial stability of those in the community … and those in the local economy as a whole. With VITA, you do make a difference. Its people helping people, and you help support your local community.

For more information on becoming a volunteer, please call Noelle Carter, Chief Administrative Officer of CCCS at 716-771-3255. Or email at Noelle.carter@cccsbuffalo.org.

Why You Should Become a VITA Volunteer

If you’re looking for a way to help your community, then consider becoming a tax volunteer. CCCS is looking for volunteers now who will provide free tax help next year.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a community-based program. VITA provides free tax return preparation for people who need tax help but can’t afford it. People with low-to-moderate incomes, seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English skills usually qualify for this free service. Why you should become a VITA volunteer:

  1. No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training, and volunteer participation and training can be used as a resume builder!
  2. IRS provides free tax law training and materials that allow volunteers to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Volunteers learn many aspects of tax return preparation. This includes tax deductions and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  3. The hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of three to five hours per week. Volunteer programs are open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline, which will be April 15, 2019
  4. Over the last 3 years, the CCCS VITA program saved low income individuals over $200,000 in tax preparation fees, and prevented taxpayers from being taken advantage of by for-profit tax preparers that may push “rapid refunds” that further drains an individual’s tax refund
  5. In addition, over the last 3 years, nearly $900,000 has been returned to low income tax payers in the form of income tax refunds. VITA sites and volunteers are trained to ensure that individuals receive the maximum return they are entitled to.
  6. Most importantly, VITA sites are specially trained to ensure individuals receive Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) when eligible. Did you know, EITC credits:
    •  Rewards work
    •  Fights poverty- lifts more than 6 million people out of poverty each year, including 3 million children
    •  Improves health outcomes, particularly for expectant mothers
    •  Improves educational outcomes – children in low income households who receive the EITC perform better in school and are more likely to attend college
    •  Boosts workforce participation rates
    •  Helps to increase life expectancy – research shows that low income individuals living in states (NYS included) that offer EITCs on top of the federal credit live longer than those in states that do not
  7. The VITA program strengthens the financial stability of those in the community…and the local economy as a whole.
  8. As a volunteer, you become part of a program that has helped people file tax returns at no charge for more than four decades. With VITA, you do make a difference. It’s people helping people. It's that simple.

Want to play an active role in changing lives? In order to sustain and expand the economic impact we need additional volunteers – please call Noelle Carter 716-771-3255 or email at noelle.carter@cccsbuffalo.org if you are interested in volunteering.