United Way & VITA offering free tax preparation

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The United Way has partnered with the IRS to open and promote Volunteer Tax Assistance Sites in Indian River County. These sites provide FREE tax preparation for low and moderate income workers (anyone who makes under $49,000). The United Way believes that by promoting this program and encouraging low and moderate income tax filers to claim every tax credit they deserve we can put more money back into the hands of hard working Indian River County residents.

“Community-based outreach efforts are the best way for eligible workers to learn about the credits and how to claim them,” states the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In fact, the City of Vero Beach’s Mayor so believes in the power of the program, he’ll be rolling up his sleeves and tackling the issue head-on.  From January 27th to April 18th Vero Beach City Mayor Jay Kramer will volunteer his time (after hours) to help bring money back into his struggling town by preparing taxes for the working poor through the IRS’s Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (VITA).

“Encouraging working families to claim every tax credit they deserve is vital to putting more money back into the hands of hard working Indian River County residents,” states Kramer, who was elected Mayor of the City of Vero Beach in November of 2010.

Last year, Kramer was one of 30 local volunteers that processed 661 returns, resulting in total refunds of $826,141. A vital component of the VITA program is the promotion of the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit which last year resulted in $379,940 being claimed – a figure which represents 45% of all the monies brought back  into the county, well over the 30% national rate for EITC claims.  According to the Brookings Institute, the EITC lifts nearly 5 million Americans above the poverty line each year.

County residents can call 2-1-1 to find a local tax preparation site. A full list is available on the United Way Website: www.unitedwayirc.org.

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