Happy Memorial Day Weekend to Our Armed Forces and Military VITA Volunteers
Even weeks past the tax-filing season, VITA issues remain important topics. Congress is still working on a federal budget whose details will have great bearing on VITA services for the coming year. Federal VITA Grant applications are due May 31 (just a reminder!). And at NCTC, we believe Memorial Day offers a great opportunity to highlight the critical yet often-overlooked role of Military VITA programs in delivering vital services to taxpayers in need of help.
Military VITA programs, overseen by the Armed Forces Tax Council, function in much the same way as Community VITA programs. Volunteers are certified by the IRS and provide free tax services to members of the U.S. Armed forces and their families while focusing on traditional VITA tax issues such as filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). However, unlike other VITA volunteers, military volunteers are additionally tested and certified to address the specific tax needs of our men and women in the armed forces, including how to handle combat pay for tax purposes and other combat-zone tax benefits.
As a brief illustration of the impact the Military VITA program has made, here are a few quick, aggregate stats from the last five tax filing seasons (2008 through preliminary 2012):
- Military VITA programs prepared more 1.2 million returns, providing more than $2.7 billion in support to our military men and women through tax refunds.
- Of these returns, nearly 190,000 military taxpayers were assisted in filing for approximately $372 million in EITC claims.
- Perhaps most importantly, our armed services families were assisted in filing more than 380,000 Child Tax Credit claims, providing more than $632 million to help support our soldiers’ children.
These figures represent only a small snapshot of the support the Military VITA program has provided throughout its existence. As we search for new ways to promote and enhance volunteer tax services throughout the year, it’s important to keep in mind how we can improve the lives of all of the taxpayers who fall under our tax preparation umbrella.
From the National Community Tax Coalition, Happy Memorial Day Weekend to the dedicated men and women of the U.S. Armed Services!
By Holden Weisman, Policy Analyst