1. What are the eligibility requirements?
Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to file an application for funding under the VITA Grant Program:
- Be classified as one of the following:
- A private or public non-profit organization qualifying for tax exemption under IRC 501, including but not limited to educational institutions, faith-based or community organizations;
- A state or local government agency, including native American tribal governments; or
- A regional, statewide, or local coalition with one lead organization that meets one of the eligibility criteria stated above. The applicant organization must have a significant role in the coalition.
- Must be in compliance with federal tax filing and payment requirements;
- Must not be debarred, suspended or otherwise ineligible for a federal award;
- Must provide matching funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis for grant funds requested;
- Must meet single or program specific audit requirements when applicable; and
- Submit all required reports timely if a prior grant recipient.
More information on the eligibility requirements can be found in IRS Publication 4671, VITA Grant Program Overview and Application Instructions.
2. What are the requirements of an organization that applies on behalf of a coalition?
Applicants that apply on behalf of a coalition are responsible for ensuring all participants within the coalition adhere to VITA Grant Program requirements. The applicant is the only organization that will be given access to the funds if awarded. After the award is made, an agreement (letter of intent or memorandum of understanding) is required between the VITA grant recipient and its coalition members and any sub-recipients to ensure adherence to program guidelines.
3. If an organization received a VITA grant or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) grant in a prior year, will it affect this year’s eligibility?
Yes. The Grant Program Office will review prior year grant files to determine whether all required reporting is complete and submitted timely. If all required reports were not submitted timely and a request to delay reporting was not approved before the due date of the report, the applicant is ineligible for a grant during this announcement period. Submitting reports about use of funds is required for the continued consideration for future grant opportunities.
4. If applying on behalf of a coalition, do all partners receiving the funds have to be an exempt organization?
No. Only the grant applicant must be a 501 organization.
5. The eligibility requirements indicate that a coalition lead must have a substantive role in the coalition. Do they have to operate a VITA site? Must they have an EFIN or SIDN?
No. A lead organization can have a substantive role without actually operating a VITA site. For example, the lead organization may be the champion of the coalition and coordinate the activities, secure funding and identify members. An EFIN and SIDN are only required for sites.
6. I cannot locate a copy of my determination letter from IRS. How can I obtain another copy?
Contact the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Customer Service Line at (877) 829-5500 for a copy of your determination letter issued by the IRS, or a suitable substitute with the required language recognizing you as an organization exempt under IRC Section 501(c).
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