A Vital Resource for Low-Wage Taxpayers Gains Permanence

Just in time for its 50th birthday, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is being made permanent – thanks to the passage of the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act of 2019.

The measure includes the VITA Permanence Act of 2019, sponsored by Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), which permanently authorizes VITA and increases the program’s funding limit from $15 million to $30 million. VITA, which began in 1969 as a small, IRS-led taxpayer education program, now provides free tax filing services to more than 1.3 million low-wage taxpayers across the country, helping to ensure those who are eligible for vital resources such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit receive the amount they’ve earned. VITA sites are staffed by IRS-certified volunteers, who in 2018 achieved an impressive 93 percent accuracy rate – one of the highest in the tax preparation industry, according to Prosperity Now.

Under the new legislation, the IRS will remain at VITA’s helm, continuing to provide training and certification to VITA volunteers and ensuring accuracy rates remain high. The higher funding limit established in the bill paves the way for growth in VITA capacity – increasing the potential for adding new sites, improving volunteer recruitment and expanding outreach to low-income households.

“Today, Republicans and Democrats set aside their differences and passed legislation together that will greatly benefit U.S. taxpayers,” said Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), following the House’s passage of the full legislation back in April.