The Bucks County Opportunity Council will be offering free income tax preparation assistance to low income residents through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) again this year beginning in February.
Trained and certified volunteers will start up beginning the first of the month with the effort lasting through April 15, in five locations throughout the county: Bristol Township, Warminster, Quakertown, Newtown and Doylestown.
Office hours at each location vary, but include Saturday, weekday, and evenings with services are provided on a first come, first serve basis.
Lower Bucks tax preparation hours in Bristol are Tuesdays 5:30 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays till 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at BCOC’s 721 Veterans Highway location.
Individuals and families with a combined income of $56,000 or less are eligible for the program.
BCOC volunteers have helped over 12,400 families save over $23.5 million in refunds, tax credits and fees in the last 15 years. Money saved stays in the local economy as low income families generally spend returns on essentials such as food, clothing and school supplies, for example, officials say.
The program supports BCOC’s overall mission to reduce poverty and partner with the community to promote economic self-sufficiency.
Millions of dollars in tax credits go unclaimed each year because many people don’t know about them or don’t know how to apply for them. According to the IRS, many individuals qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but cannot afford professional tax assistance to help them file their taxes correctly.
Over 50 volunteers make this program possible through BCOC. Tax preparers receive training and need to pass an exam to be certified. Other volunteers assist in support roles such as greeting visitors and scheduling. The program is sponsored by the IRS, and supported locally by Bucks County Foundation, First National Bank & Trust Co. of Newtown, and BB&T.
To be a volunteer contact Eileen Albillar at 215-345-8175, or firstname.lastname@example.org.