ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Congressman Paul Tonko joins partners from United Way of the Greater Capital Region and the CA$H Coalition of the Greater Capital Region to kickoff the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax prep season. To mark the 16th Annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day, VITA offers individuals a safe and reliable way to get their taxes prepared for free.

Most VITA sites will be offering a virtual option this year to protect the health and safety of community members, partners, and volunteers. This tax prep season VITA sites will allow same-day preparation, virtual preparation, or a combination of both.

In addition appointments for tax preparation services are required and can be made by calling 2-1-1 or by calling your site directly. Officials say a full list of sites with contact information is available by visiting the GetFreeTaxPrep.org webpage.

According to officials, the EITC has been cited as one of the most effective tools for lifting working families out of poverty. They say expanded Child Tax Credit has cut childhood poverty in half with many of those benefits that have been paid in advance. However, this year VITA volunteers have undergone additional training to make sure taxpayers receive as much of the tax credit that is due to them.

“VITA is a crucial resource for so many in our communities as we enter the tax filing season,” Congressman Tonko said. “The assistance provided at events like these will help Capital Region residents prepare their returns and claim the important benefits they need and deserve, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the expanded Child Tax Credit.”