Too often, taxpayers miss out on thousands of dollars in tax credits or overpay for tax prep. During tax season, ads appear on every corner, physical and virtual, about cash back, fast and free service, and rapid refunds. The qualify of these services varies significantly, and sorting through them is challenging. Services that offer fast and free cash back often ultimately cost the most. But the lure of cash on the spot is hard to resist.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), a program of the IRS, offers a great alternative. VITA sites offer free tax prep at community-based organizations (churches, libraries, community colleges, etc.). This tax season we’ve added all IRS-approved VITA sites to the Fresh EBT map! VITA Free Tax Prep sites consistently rank as the most accurate of all tax preparers. All VITA tax preparers get IRS-standard training. The same can’t be said for the alternatives. Instead of selling products with high fees or interest rates, VITA encourage personal asset building. VITA sites connect clients to financial coaches and determine if they’re eligible for more benefits. They also refer clients to consumer-friendly financial products.
Vita sites offer a better service than their for-profit competitors. Still, without million-dollar advertising budgets, they have a hard time competing. Fresh EBT hopes to change this by sharing VITA information throughout tax season.
Improving access to VITA sites is one of the ways Fresh EBT tries to save you time and money. We hope to succeed this tax season.