Brown Announces More Than $263K to Assist Ohioans in Maximizing Federal Tax Refunds

Internal Revenue Service VITA Grant Program Trains Volunteer Tax Preparers to Assist Individuals and Families Making $49K or Lower

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown today announced that $263,730 has been awarded to five Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) organizations in Canton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, and Columbus. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funds – aimed at helping Ohioans maximize their federal tax refunds and qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – will increase capacity to file returns electronically, enhance volunteer training, and improve accuracy of tax returns filed by VITA sites.

 “Ohio families struggling to make ends meet can count on well-trained volunteers to help them file their taxes,” Brown said. “Improving the accuracy rate of tax returns for working Ohioans and their families saves money and increases efficiency.”

Brown wrote letters of support to several VITA grant awardees. The 2011 recipients include:





Family Economic Success Program, Inc.



Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks



United Way of Central Ohio, Inc.



United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Inc.



United Way of Ross County, Inc.




VITA sites are located in community and neighborhoods centers, schools, libraries and other central locations throughout the state, according to the IRS. Military personnel and their families also receive free tax preparation assistance.

In order to have tax returns prepared for free, individuals and families making under $49,000 must bring the following information to a VITA site:

  • Proof of identification
  • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse, and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Current year’s tax package if you received one
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal tax credit that may be available to working individuals or families who earned less than $48,279 in 2009. The average credit is $2,488 for families with two children, with a maximum credit of $5,600. Last year, 874,000 Ohio taxpayers claimed the EITC, returning $1.7 billion dollars to our state's economy.

In September, Sen. Brown introduced the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Act of 2010 which would establish a dedicated funding stream for VITA sites throughout Ohio and the nation.

Working Ohio families face great challenges as they fight to make ends meet. The EITC, a federal income tax credit recognizing the economic contributions of working families, reduces or eliminates the tax burden for millions of low- and middle-income wage earners. Brown continues to encourage eligible Ohioans to take advantage of the EITC and apply.


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