IRC Tax Program helps 460 people
For the fifth consecutive year, IRC San Diego operated a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site to assist refugees and low-income members of the community with free income tax preparation. The IRC offered a safe and reputable place for individuals and families to get their taxes prepared free of charge, an option that saved people hundreds of dollars that they might have spent at a paid preparer’s office. Clients this year were a mix of those returning to the IRC for the second, third, or even fourth year in a row, and those for whom the tax preparation process was an entirely new experience.
The site was staffed by a diverse team of 20 volunteers, among whom 16 different languages were spoken. They were perfectly positioned to assist the more than 460 clients IRC served this year who came 50 countries and speak varying degrees of English.
Through the help of the trained volunteers, clients were able to claim a total of $730,000 in federal refunds, almost $400,000 of which came from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Part of the VITA program’s focus is on making sure clients claim all of the tax credits for which they are eligible, the EITC being the largest by far. These tax credits and the federal refunds are essential to the families IRC serves whose average adjusted gross income (AGI) for the 2009 tax year was a mere $13,000. The IRC’s tax program was an incredible success this year, serving 200 more clients than the year before, and making a positive impact on the lives of refugees and the community as a whole.