Free Tax Help ButtonThe Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the nation’s most effective anti-poverty program for working families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit for families and individuals who work but make low incomes. The EITC helps to reduce the tax burden on low-middle income workers. The EITC program is both federal and state (in 24 states), and rebates are available to those eligible for both state and federal returns.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is an IRS program designed to help provide free income tax preparation services to low-middle income working taxpayers, and utilizes volunteers who are IRS trained and certified. The VITA concept is to provide a valuable community service that serves millions of taxpayers each year. Many low-middle income workers cannot afford to pay a tax professional to prepare an income tax return. This often means they are unaware they may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can put more money directly into the pockets of those who need it most. In New England, the average cost for tax preparation is about $246 per return. For 2017, VITA sites will assist people who made $55,000 or less in 2016.

Last year there were:

13,830 state returns filed  x $246 in prep fees = $3,402,180

10,385 federal returns filed  x $246 in prep fees =  $2,554,710

Total refunds: $16,584,925 (including EITC & CTC)

Total credits: EITC $6454,356   CTC $2,573,930 (CTC = Child Tax Credit)

Next Steps

UWRI’s goal for the VITA program is to successfully complete 15,000 returns and reach a total of $20,000,000 in tax refunds and EITC credits by the year 2020. To this end we have added two new sites to the Providence Coalition: the Genesis Center and the Providence Housing Authority, which will help to realize our goal. This tax season, the IRS has raised the eligibility amount for VITA to individuals and families who earn $55,000 or less in 2016, which widens the scope of eligibility for Rhode Islanders. We will be expanding our 2-1-1 PopUp RV VITA sites this season from 6 last year to at least 12, we will be adding evenings, and we will be locating our PopUp sites in areas for higher visibility.

Get Help

Call 2-1-1 now to find a VITA site near you. Want VITA help to come to you? Our 2-1-1 outreach RV will have pop-up sites across the state. Check out our events calendar for upcoming sites and dates.

Take Action

Become a volunteer and share your talents as a tax preparer or site greeter.


VITA is generously supported by Citizens Bank.