Brown Today Introduced the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Act of 2011 to Support Free Tax Help Programs for Low-to-Moderate Income Families

According to the IRS, More Than 33,000 Ohioans Can Potentially Receive An Average of $620

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the end of tax season approaches, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today reminded all Ohioans that this is the last year to file a federal income tax return for 2007. Some 33,200 Ohio residents can potentially receive an average of $620 by filing back taxes before tax day on April 18, 2011.

Brown today introduced new legislation aimed at helping more middle-class and low-income Ohioans claim vital tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Act of 2011 is aimed at supporting Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs, which offer free tax help to low-to-moderate income individuals who cannot afford professional assistance. 

“Hard-working Ohioans should not be loaning Uncle Sam money,” Brown said. “But the thousands of eligible households who didn’t file in 2007 are missing out on nearly $30,240,000 in tax refunds. With tax day approaching, I want to ensure that each Ohioan receives the money they’re due.” 

“With Tax Day upon us—and with our economy on a steady but slow rebound—we should do all we can to ensure that more eligible Ohioans can file for money-saving tax credits,” Brown continued. “Many Ohio families rely on a tax refund each year to help pay bills or afford college tuition for a child. To that end, VITA sites play an incredibly important role in educating Americans about the tax credits they may be entitled to and help ensure that those returns are filed in a timely and complete manner. This bill would help keep these VITA sites operating and ensure that Ohioans get the biggest refund possible.”

With the April 18th federal filing deadline approaching, Brown also encourages all eligible Ohioans to take advantage of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), free online filing services, and the free tax preparation services offered throughout the state.


Free Online Filing Services

Ohioans who have access to the internet and gross incomes of $58,000 or less can take advantage of free online filing through the IRS' web site: The IRS Free File Program helps many Americans each year file their taxes online in a fast, free, and secure fashion. The program gives filers access to tax preparation software that provides them with step-by-step assistance toward preparing, completing, and filing their federal tax returns online.

Tax Preparation Assistance

Free tax preparation assistance is available at sites across Ohio. For additional information, interested persons should contact the IRS for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) site locators. Call the hotline at: 1-800-906-9887 and enter your zip code for the nearest VITA/TCE site location.

VITA centers offer taxpayers a free, community-based alternative to commercial tax preparation chains. Considerable evidence also demonstrates that VITA centers significantly increase taxpayer compliance.  Finally, VITA centers ensure that taxpayers not only claim the benefits of which they are entitled, but that they are also exposed to a variety of financial literacy tools and savings strategies aimed at helping them build assets for the future.