CAPSAW receives grant to provide free tax preparation services
This expansion was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Community Action Partnership’s Virginia Cash Campaign. The VACAP grant will help fund the development of financial education and self sufficiency programming for area utilizing the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program through which trained volunteers provide FREE tax preparation services to qualified area residents. Partners in this program include the Virginia Extension Office, the United Way of Greater Augusta, Augusta County Schools, Staunton Parks and Recreation and Mary Baldwin College.
CAPSAW’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or VITA program began providing services in 2011. Volunteers filed federal returns resulting in refunds valued at little under $250,000. Deb Koons, EITC coordinator for CAPSAW explained that training materials are provided by the IRS and volunteers were able to be certified and have provided free services to over 190 residents. “Some of our clients literally could not believe the service was free. Our volunteers have saved tax payers over $69,000 in preparation fees – money that was likely spent in our community.”
Leavitt and Koons say that eligibility requirements have expanded to include families making less than $51,000 a year. “We hope that our community will recognize the value of this service. Why pay anything when we can provide the same quality work for free?” asked Koons. This year clients will be able to take advantage of expanded economic stability programming including one on one consultations with trained Economic Education Volunteers and classes provided through the year making this an improved choice for area consumers.
Volunteers are currently being recruited with IRS certified training scheduled to begin in November. Please contact CAPSAW at email@example.com for more information or by calling 540-221-1654.