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Polis visits VITA sites, discusses tax credits

Administration recently launched an inter-agency project to boost the number of Coloradans claiming these tax credits
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Gov. Jared Polis, left, was joined by Treasurer Dave Young at a news conference March 22, 2021, announcing the statewide Build Back Stronger listening tour.

NEWS RELEASE
GOVERNOR JARED POLIS
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COLORADO SPRINGS - This morning, Governor Jared Polis visited the Another Life Foundation, one of the many Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in Colorado that provide free tax preparation services to Coloradans.

Starting in July many Coloradans began receiving their monthly payments automatically under the recently expanded federal Child Tax Credit, but more people need to take action and file their taxes to take advantage of this, the Earned Income Tax Credit and other life-changing tax credits.

Under the Polis administration, Colorado has cut the income tax, cut property taxes, and doubled the state Earned Income Tax Credit to reward hard work as well as funding a new State Child Credit to provide additional support to Colorado families with young children.

“The life-changing Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax cuts provide thousands of dollars to hardworking families that they can use to purchase everyday items like groceries, pay for child care or save for the future,” said Governor Polis. “VITA sites are crucial to helping Coloradans claim the tax credits they deserve and we thank the volunteers who work at these sites. We are in this together so if you would like to help increase the economic mobility and prosperity of your neighbors, sign up to volunteer for VITA today.”

VITA sites like the one Governor Polis visited in Colorado Springs are key to helping Coloradans claim the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and other tax credits they have earned - sometimes upwards of $10,000 per family. However, VITA sites are mostly run by volunteers, and a shortage of volunteers means many families may miss out on these economic lifelines.

“The recent expansion of both the state and federal Child Tax Credit has the potential to lift 40% of Colorado children out of poverty and improve health outcomes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE executive director. “It is critical that every family has access to the help they need to access these tax credits. We thank all VITA site volunteers for their service in helping families across Colorado.”

No background in tax or accounting is needed to be a VITA volunteer - just a few days of training. VITA sites have also introduced COVID-safe policies to keep both volunteers and clients safe. You can sign up to volunteer for VITA at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-tax-volunteers, and the IRS will connect you to your nearest VITA location.

“VITA is a national program where people help people,” said IRS manager Sandra Cobos “The VITA program has operated for over 50 years and provides free tax preparation to people who need assistance in preparing their tax returns.”

For people who may not have filed taxes recently, they need to take action and file their taxes to take advantage of this life-changing tax credit. Before November 15, families who aren't receiving the monthly payment can file a simplified return online at getctc.org/co to receive half of their refund this year.

Colorado residents without social security numbers can also claim these tax credits, but only if they first apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). To learn more about the benefits of ITINs and how to apply for one, they can visit www.TaxOutreach.org/tax-filing/itin

The Polis-Primavera Administration and Senator Michael Bennet, who championed the CTC in Congress, recently launched a statewide campaign to boost the number of Coloradans claiming these tax credits. Governor Polis also created an interagency project to better coordinate these efforts led by the Maternal and Child Health Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. Departments and agencies are actively identifying ways to incorporate tax credit outreach and referrals to VITA sites into their existing programming.

In addition, VITA sites are encouraged to apply for mini-grants to help them boost their capacity in advance of tax season. The first grant application round closes on Oct. 19, and there will be further performance-based grant opportunities available.

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