Why is VITA free?
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is a leveraged partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and offered to communities across the United States in thousands of sites each year. Since 2004 Life Transforming Ministries (LTM) has been certified by the IRS within their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and has been operating sites in Chester County. Our role is to recruit and help train volunteers, who must pass an IRS examination in order to complete tax returns. They are not paid and serve customers out of their own interest in serving the community. We then organize sites where returns are prepared by volunteers using IRS approved tax preparation software provided at no cost to our organization.
How are you different from the other “free” offers I have been hearing about?
The difference is that we are entirely free, and always will be. As opposed to the majority of other free providers we are not a paid preparer operation. There are absolutely no costs, fees or any other financial requirements to receive our service. We will prepare and electronically file your tax return, and even set up electronic deposit at no cost. Other services may offer to prepare your return for free, but may charge you to submit it electronically to the IRS, or take their fees out of your refund, or charge you to access your own money in a refund anticipation loan. You may hear, “no out of pocket costs,” but that really means you’re getting less of your own money. We are also under the direct supervision of the Internal Revenue Service Philadelphia office.
Can anyone have their taxes done by VITA?
All VITA programs have some limits to the type of tax forms they can prepare. If your tax situation is unique, please contact our office to determine if we can assist you. Our volunteers are also not permitted to prepare tax returns beyond their certification level.
Is VITA limited to “low-income” taxpayers?
One of our goals is to maximize the number of eligible taxpayers who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a credit for low to moderate income earners that phases out at around $60,000 for households with children. So our primary target audience is those taxpayers. Yet our goal is to offer service to anyone who needs help with tax preparation, so please inquire about our available services regardless of your income level.
You are a faith-based organization. Is there any requirement for me to participate in religious activities at a VITA site?
Never. Although our agency and some of our volunteers are motivated to serve because of our religious faith, this is about serving you by helping you become tax compliant. We will always respect you as a customer.
Do you offer other services?
Yes, in addition to the VITA program LTM provides various types of educational programs and services. More information is available at our website: www.QuietRevolution.org. We are also a part of the United Way Financial Stability Partnership of Chester County, where information about a wide range of complementary services to our VITA program is available.