CAP Riverside’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) has begun offering free income tax preparation at 21 locations in Riverside County. VITA initially kicked off for 2015 on January 31, 2015.
The IRS trained and certified VITA tax preparers help tax filers claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is provided as an incentive by the federal government for those who are or were employed during that tax-filing period. Some working families or individuals could qualify for up to $6,143 in Earned Income Tax Credits. A tax return must be filed in order to claim the EITC. Many individuals do not file tax returns because they do not owe taxes, but by failing to file they miss out on this money which is rightfully theirs. When claimed, EITC boosts household income up to 45%
Every year, millions of people miss this potentially life-changing credit because they do not know about it. Over one third of workers who qualify for EITC are eligible for the first time this year. People move in and out of EITC eligibility due to life changes such as income amounts, marital or parental status. Each year the credit lifts about 6 million people nationwide out of poverty and over half of these are children. Last year, more than 28 million workers received nearly $66 billion in EITC.
EITC is designed to “make work pay,” by supplementing eligible workers’ earnings with additional income. The amount of the credit varies depending on filing status, the number of qualifying children, if any, and the amount of earnings. This could mean up to $496 in EITC for people without children, and a maximum credit of up to $6,143 for those with three or more qualifying children. The average amount of EITC distributed is $2,400. This money not only helps workers and their families, but the communities in which they live.
For working families or individuals making less than $52,427, free tax preparation is provided through the VITA program. CAP Riverside has over 200 IRS certified tax preparers. Tax centers are available throughout Riverside County starting January 31; site location information is available by calling 2-1-1, 1-800-511-1110, or visiting www.capriverside.org.