Congress to strengthen tax services

A recent federal proposal aims to help struggling families avoid costs of commercial tax preparation.

The VITA Act, introduced two weeks ago in the U.S. House of Representatives, would strengthen free-of-charge, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance services that aid low- and moderate-income, working households.

With the help of tens of thousands of trained and IRS-certified volunteers, Community VITA programs operated in nearly 6,000 sites nationwide last year and helped taxpayers file 1.6 million federal returns to obtain $2.2 billion in tax refunds.

The VITA program dates back about 40 years, and its tax-preparation help is free to households earning less than about $50,000. These are among the families who struggle the most to afford commercial tax-prep services that can charge hundreds of dollars and sometimes participate in predatory practices.

For more information visit www.tax-coalition.org.

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