The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is a free tax preparation service for individuals and families in Santa Barbara County. Tax returns are prepared and completed by IRS-Certified volunteers each year from February through April throughout Southern Santa Barbara County. Volunteers will select their volunteer site(s) and times during the registration process.
More lower-income families will have increased and increasing long-term financial assets.
To increase by 50% the number of lower-income families who are financially stable.
The measurable outcome of the Financial Empowerment Partnership of South Santa Barbara County is to:
- Grow the number of client participants (earning an annual income of $58,000 or less for a family of four) in all current and future projects by 10% or more each year.
The Partnership has seven major projects for the next three years:
- Establish and Maintain Emergency Savings Account (ESA): clients start an ESA and contribute some amount of money each payday with an initial goal of $1,000.
- Financial Literacy Education: clients attend and graduate from bilingual, IRS-approved community financial literacy programs.
- Reduce Debt: clients learn and practice ways to reduce debt.
- Increase Your ESA: encourage clients to increase their investment to an amount equal to three to six months of living expenses.
- Retirement Savings: open, fund, and maintain an IRA with 5-15% of income every payday.
- VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance): maximize credits and deductions, eliminate tax preparation costs by using VITA and Senior Tax Assistance.
- College and Career Savings Plans: create, fund, and maintain a college and/or career tax-deferred 529 or Coverdell account for you, a spouse, children, or grandchildren for community college, technical/vocational schools, four-year colleges, or other qualified providers.