Capturing Teachable Moments at the VITA Site
Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site continues to thrive, helping more than 1,000 low to moderate income people complete and electronically file Federal and State income tax returns. Because the tax preparation assistance is free of charge, each taxpayer saves an average of $250 in tax preparation fees. Taxpayers are urged to use their savings to pay down debt, establish an emergency fund, or save to meet goals such as home ownership or a college education.
Our trained and certified income tax preparers know how to search out and obtain income tax deductions and credits the taxpayer is eligible to claim. We encourage our taxpayers to use direct deposit for their refunds, to reduce fraud, and to ensure they receive refunds in a timely manner.
We provide options for taxpayers who prefer to prepare their own income tax return. The website www.myfreetaxes.com/kc is a free and reliable option for households whose income is less than $58,000. Evidence shows that people who complete their own income tax return have a better understanding of how their financial behaviors affect their overall financial well-being. This knowledge can lead to changes in their financial choices and improved financial outcomes.
Our taxpayers may come to our VITA site for assistance in filing their income tax return, but they leave with more. We capture a “teachable moment” in their financial life, and provide them with tools to set goals, reduce identity theft, improve record keeping, or begin a savings program.
Grant funds from the Johnson County Extension Education Foundation were used for office supplies to assist the participants and bilingual signage.