Trained VITA volunteers help find thousands of extra dollars for families on limited budgets.

In 2016, GRACE provided 287 families with tax assistance, financial coaching and nearly $400,000 in tax refunds, thanks to the resources of volunteers and community supporters, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program.

The results were astounding. Each family averaged nearly $2,000 in Earned Income Tax Credit, in their pockets.

Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits, such as the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and many deductions are often left unclaimed or given a fraction of the return with a costly tax service.

For those on limited budgets or fixed incomes, a well-earned return from the Internal Revenue Service has a significant budget impact, and creates a ripple effect that is far reaching, including the intangible support given during tax season for financial stewardship awareness, job coaching, and continued education resources to increase each family’s earning potential.

“The value of this service could not be overstated,” said Stacy Pacholick , GRACE Director of Programs. “Not only are refunds rightfully given back to the people who paid them, the teachable moments are boundless.”

VITA is open to all qualifying families with household incomes of $55,000 or less for the 2016 calendar year. In partnership with United Way of Tarrant County, the service is provided free with no out-of-pocket costs for tax preparations.

VITA volunteers will be at GRACE Main Offices, 610 Shady Brook Drive in Grapevine, beginning January 24, every Tuesday and Wednesday, 2 – 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., through April 15. Tax filers are asked to simply drop in for services.

Please bring valid photo identification, a Social Security card or individual Tax Identification Number (TIN) for all family members, all W-2 forms, a copy of the 2016 tax return, if possible, and 1099 forms, if applicable. If filing jointly, both spouses must be present.

The United Way of Tarrant County has eleven other VITA Locations available. “VITA On the Run” offers tax filers the opportunity to drop off tax information. Returns are processed within three days.

The key to the massive outpouring of support for this program is centered in the volunteers who provide the service. Hundreds of tax preparers, including CPAs and financial professionals, intake specialists and interpreters will be working through the April 15 filing deadline to assure all who qualify can take advantage of VITA services.

If you are passionate about helping families overcome hardship through financial education, VITA is still in need of tax help volunteers and financial coaches. No prior qualification is required to be a VITA volunteer. Volunteers will not be liable for accounting errors, and a staff person will be present at all times.

Tax Preparers will assist families with simple tax returns. Intake Specialists are needed to greet families, ensure they have the necessary documents, and explain the VITA packet. Intake Specialists will attend a one-hour training session. Interpreters are also needed.

Email VITA or call 817-258-8062 to get started.