Many tax sites promise fast filing and instant refunds. Yet users often find that they are paying more than they thought for service and getting less in return. To ensure that you get the most from tax credits and refunds, NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) is once again offering the Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to anyone earning $54,000 per year or less.
Working with the Food Bank for New York City, the Fund for Public Housing, and Citi Community Development, the Authority is providing 30 locations across the five boroughs where eligible participants can file state and federal taxes for free and with little wait time.
Virtual VITA helps to increase every user’s access to low-cost, high-tech financial solutions in low-income communities. Tax filers complete an intake form at a tax preparation site and submit their tax documents electronically and securely to a qualified Food Bank tax preparer. The process takes no more than 30 minutes, allowing the tax filer to leave the site and come back once the tax return is complete and ready to be submitted to the IRS.
Last year, more than 1,720 tax returns were completed at 19 Virtual VITA locations citywide. In addition to filing taxes, participants also learned about income-boosting tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which, on average, returns $2,500 annually to the pockets of eligible New Yorkers earning less than $54,000 a year.
For a listing of NYCHA sites offering free tax preparation, visit www.opportunitynycha.org/taxprep or call the REES Hotline at 718-289-8100.
Watch the video below about one NYCHA resident’s experience using Virtual VITA.