Taxpayer Advocate Urges Oregonians to Volunteer to Help Low-Income Families Receive Millions in Unclaimed Tax Benefits

Posted on October 26, 2023

Oregon Dept. of Revenue – 10/26/23 9:22 AM

Salem, OR—The Internal Revenue Service is once again recruiting people to assist in the free preparation of taxes as part of its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, and the Department of Revenue’s Taxpayer Advocate is encouraging Oregonians to volunteer.

“Oregon needs more VITA and TCE sites and volunteers,” said Oregon Taxpayer Advocate Codi Trudell. “Volunteers have helped more than 28,000 Oregonians file their tax returns in 2023, but the need is substantially higher. VITA and TCE sites turn people away every day due to a lack of volunteers.”

The IRS estimates that one in five Oregon taxpayers eligible to claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit are not doing so. One Oregon organization estimates that the unclaimed credits total nearly $100 million annually.

“There are significant federal and Oregon-specific tax credit benefits available to low-income individuals and families, but they need to file a tax return to claim the benefits,” Trudell said. “By volunteering to help file those returns, Oregonians can make a big difference in their communities.”

In addition to the need for volunteers, the IRS is also seeking organizations to sponsor VITA and TCE clinics. Last year, free tax assistance was made available at 88 sites across the state.

The VITA and TCE programs include training to provide free tax help for low-to-moderate income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns. Across the country, thousands of people volunteer each year and prepare millions of tax returns at thousands of tax sites nationwide.

Volunteers are assigned to work with a sponsoring organization, first to receive training and then to begin volunteering at a location in the community. Training is offered both online and in the classroom. Tax sites are generally open nights and weekends, and the hours are flexible.

Additional information is available on the IRS website. Interested persons can submit an inquiry now using the VITA/TCE Volunteer and Partner Sign Up moving them one step closer to becoming a VITA or TCE tax volunteer and giving back to their community. The IRS will share information about those interested in volunteering with sponsoring organizations for follow-up contact.

Organizations with an interest in partnering with the IRS to sponsor or host a free tax preparation site in Oregon can also complete and submit the VITA/TCE Volunteer and Partner Sign Up.

To get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments, visit www.oregon.gov/dor or email questions.dor@oregon.gov. You also can call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing- or speech-impaired), we accept all relay calls.

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