Revere and Chelsea, MA -- In the world of upside-down tax programs, for every dollar of homeownership tax benefits a low-income family gets, a multi-millionaire will get $15,450 (The Topic Policy Center). But there is one tax program that actually has a positive impact on the working families that need the assistance: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
And The Neighborhood Developers (TND) is having its 10th anniversary of providing VITA services to Chelsea and Revere. On average, the tax-credit refund amount for TND's VITA clients is 9% of their annual income. So coming to TND for just one service gets them almost a 10th of their income for the whole year. This means they really rely on this service being available to them.
Across the nation, each year VITA volunteers prepare millions of tax returns at thousands of tax sites nationwide. “In 2014, the EITC [Earned Income Tax Credit] lifted 6.7 million people out of poverty. The same year, the Child Tax Credit protected approximately 3.1 million people from poverty, including about 1.6 million children.” (Results.org) Here is a moment to multiply 6.7 million and 3.1 million by 10 years.
Organizations like The Neighborhood Developers open their doors to residents and guide them through the tax system to life-changing tax credits, including: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); Child Tax Credit (CTC); and The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).
The late Senator Edward Kennedy said, “If you work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, in the richest nation in the world, you should not have to live in poverty.” For millions of families, VITA made that a reality.
The Neighborhood Developers and the other VITA organizations around the country provide this service with the help of volunteers. Volunteers are the core of VITA. Many come with no experience working with taxes, and they are trained by organizations like The Neighborhood Developers on how to provide this direct service, to participate in the national movement that collectively pulls millions of people out of poverty.