VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE - VITA
Free Tax Services for Foster Youth
The VITA program was a direct evolution from the John Burton Advocates for Youth pilot tax program. Now, The Community College Foundation has partnered with John Burton Advocates for Youth, Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, and Golden State Opportunity to provide Free Tax Preparation Services for current and former foster youth between the ages of 16 and 26.
Since our inception in 2021 we have helped more than 270 taxpayers complete their returns and put more than half a million dollars back into the pockets of current and former foster youth.
“If you are worried about the doom and gloom of taxes, you should work with them, they make it so simple.”
-Jose, VITA client 2023
“The money was a lifesaver. It’s helping me pay my bills, feed my kids and keep them in clean clothes. It’s helping me stay on track with my education and pursue my dream of working in women’s health someday.” Olivia, VITA Client 2023
HOW IT WORKS
With VITA anyone who makes below 60k a year who is currently or formerly system involved can sign up for free tax preparation services. But rather than just wait for people to come to us. TCCF conducts targeted outreach to direct youth to appointments.
Most clients qualify for the Foster Youth Tax Credit, up to $1,083 for individual filers and up to $2,166 if both primary taxpayer and spouse/registered domestic partner qualify. Our volunteers work with clients each year from February to June to help them navigate the process and file for all the taxes and returns available to them.
Creating an easily accessible program has always been a core value and meeting with clients via zoom and phone has allowed for even those with the busiest of schedules to find time to receive the assistance they deserve.
Not sure if you qualify? Sign up for a consultation and we can help.
VITA works with technical assistance and grant funding from JBAY— made possible by Golden State Opportunity, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, United Ways of California, and the Walter S. Johnson Foundation.
WHY IT MATTERS
Many clients are filing their taxes without help or with paid services like TurboTax and H&R block, companies who may not know to look for credits and tax breaks created to help former and current foster youth.
With VITA the volunteers are up to date on tax adjustments and credits allowing clients to optimize their returns.
Going to an expert is one thing but with VITA the entire process is transparent and provides educational materials so our clients are better informed and able to prepare for tax seasons to come.
“They are very good and can help you with anything and they have good resources and can answer any questions. I will be back next year.” - Taylor, VITA client 2023