Monday, December 21, 2009


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has awarded a $90,000 grant to members of the Indianapolis Asset Building Coalition to boost the IABC’s citywide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in 2010.

Locally, the VITA program occurs through a collaboration of IABC members, including the City of Indianapolis, United Way of Central Indiana, Central Indiana Community Foundation, local banks and financial institutions and various not-for-profit organizations focused on asset building and financial fitness. The grant application was submitted through the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, a public-private partnership that is also a member of the IABC. By contributing $20,000 to the project, the Indianapolis Foundation, which is affiliated with CICF, contributed a significant portion of the matching funds needed to receive the IRS grant.

VITA partners are organizations that provide free federal tax return preparation and electronic filing to low and moderate income individuals. For tax year 2009, individuals and families with an adjusted gross income of $49,000 or lower are eligible for assistance.

In Indianapolis, eight neighborhood community centers serve as VITA sites, helping to recruit volunteers and providing staff support during a variety of hours. They include John H. Boner Community Center, Christamore House, Concord Neighborhood Center, Hawthorne Community Center, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, Oasis Christian CDC, Shepherd Community Center and Southeast Community Services. There will also be one-day VITA sites at Goodwill Industries and other locations to be announced in early 2010.

The VITA program, known for several years as “Save, Earn and Learn,” works in partnership with “Indy’s Campaign for Financial Fitness,” which is chaired by First Lady Winnie Ballard.

“I am passionate about promoting financial fitness throughout Indianapolis, because I believe improving financial health is one of the best ways we can improve the quality of life for all citizens,” said First Lady Winnie Ballard. “Through Indy’s Campaign for Financial Fitness, we are helping connect individuals with tools and resources to help them live within their means and make their hard-earned dollars stretch further.”

Under the national VITA Grant Program, the IRS awarded nearly $8 million in matching grants to 147 organizations that will offer free tax preparation services during the 2010 filing season. There was a strong response to the 2010 VITA grant solicitation, with 360 organizations submitting applications that, combined, requested more than $30 million in matching funds.

“We're proud to support the VITA program and their volunteer tax preparers who provide an invaluable service to millions of taxpayers,” said Richard Byrd, Jr., IRS Wage and Investment Operating Division Commissioner.

The funds will be used to:

•Enable VITA programs to extend services to underserved populations and hardest to reach areas, both urban and non-urban

•Increase the capacity to file returns electronically

•Heighten quality control and improve the accuracy of returns prepared by the VITA sites

•Enhance training of volunteers

Individuals interested in volunteering to assist Indianapolis community centers with tax prep and other financial fitness services may visit to register.

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