2013 VITA and EITC KickoffFederal, state and local officials gathered at Springfield Partners for Community Action's office to kick off the tax season on Jan. 25, the National Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.
"The Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit, keep thousands of local households above the poverty line every year," said Paul F. Bailey, Springfield Partners Executive Director. "It's crucial to educate the community about the importance of these credits, as more than $13 billion in Earned Income Tax Credits go unclaimed each year."
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax filing services to nearly 2,000 low- and moderate-income Hampden County residents annually. At the Jan. 25 event, several residents had their tax returns filed by IRS-trained volunteers.
This year, Springfield Partners is partnering with Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) to expand program services, thanks to a grant from the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Residents may also call VOC at (413) 612-0206 to make an appointment at VOC offices in Chicopee or Holyoke.
Speakers at the Jan. 25 kickoff event also included Mary Ann Higgins, Regional Administrator for the US Dept. of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families; Gerald Bell, Manager of Community Services Programs for the Mass. Dept. of Housing & Community Development; Joe Diamond, Executive Director at the Massachusetts Community Action Association; Jeremiah Thompson, Regional Director for US Sen. Elizabeth Warren's office; Margaret Boyle of US Rep. Richard E. Neal's office; Dora Robinson, President & CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley; and Steve Huntley, Executive Director at Valley Opportunity Council. Representatives from the IRS and program partners Elms College and the Hampden County Sheriff's Office were also in attendance.
|Joe Diamond, MASSCAP, and Gerald Bell, DHCD|
|Michael DeChiara, United Way, Kevin Reed and Steve Huntley, VOC, and Dora Robinson, United Way|
|Mary Ann Higgins, US Health and Human Services|
|Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Springfield Partners, Theresa Cooper-Gordon and Keya Hicks, ADP|
|VITA volunteers Indira Lalchandani and Keith Godek|