Organizations that partner with us collaborate to provide information that people need, want and value at various times during the tax cycle.
Pre-Filing Education (September - December)
If your organization is interested in free tax preparation for low income individuals, this is the time to get involved in a local coalition. Since 1970, IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program has helped millions of individuals fulfill their tax obligations. The planning for tax assistance sites begins early. Always in need are: volunteers, computer equipment, publicity, and safe, secure facilities convenient to bus routes or other public transportation.
Having all of the items needed to sponsor VITA is wonderful, but not necessary. By partnering with us , your organization can easily link up with other organizations that may have other pieces of the puzzle. If one organization has a cadre of employees who are interested in volunteering at a tax site, we can help link that group with other groups locally that may have computer equipment to offer, or have space to host a site.
Fall is also a good time for tax education campaigns. Organizations that are interested in or able to share information with their customers will find ample campaign materials on the Earned Income Tax Credit for example. Knowledge of the EITC and other tax benefits leads to actions that not only educate but also enrich people’s lives.
Partnering groups can also provide information on:
Other deductions and tax benefits - the Internal Revenue Code contains many incentives for people to do things ranging from going to college to buying a home;
Free forms and publications that can be provided, answering people’s tax questions;
Financial management – including financial literacy training and asset building opportunities such as savings accounts.
Tax Filing Season (January - April)
January through April is traditionally known as tax time. The VITA Program is in full swing. If your group has not partnered with us or a local coalition in the past, VITA is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door . Although local VITA sites are generally finalized by this time, they will usually welcome any publicity your organizational network can provide.
It’s also a good time to address asset building with individuals who are getting their tax returns prepared at volunteer sites. Partners can encourage families to use a portion of their tax refund to begin saving. Often VITA customers do not have bank accounts or even the simplest of financial strategies in place. Rather than provide a safety net and government assistance to sustain families while in poverty, our approach is to focus on the ability to accumulate assets and move people out of poverty to self-sufficiency.
Post Filing Season Partnering (May - August)
The end of filing season is a good time to celebrate your successes and evaluate your organization’s participation in and commitment to local partnerships. Coalition members often find that they benefit through enhanced community relationships that translate to more direct knowledge of their customers’ needs. Likewise, your customers now know and recognize more local organizations as sources of valuable information, services and benefits. Thus, name recognition is one benefit of community tax assistance.
Your group may use this time to determine whether to expand its participation in the local coalition next year. This is the time to bring in other organizations or resources that will help strengthen the partnership. Working together means a more positive impact on customers’ lives by guiding them to a path of greater financial awareness, growth and stability -- adding value to their lives and their community.
City and state government offices, power companies, colleges, corporations, neighborhood centers and housing providers are just a few of the hundreds of organizations that now join with us to meet the needs of mutual clients and/or customers.
Learn more about the VITA Program.
If the mission of your organization coincides with that of IRS, why not consider becoming a partner? To discuss partnering opportunities send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help you get started.