United Way Miami Testifies Before Curbelo, Ways and Means Committee on Low-Income Tax Preparation Services

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Washington, D.C., December 13, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Earlier today, Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), South Florida’s only Member on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and the sponsor of the VITA Permanence Act, welcomed United Way Miami-Dade’s participation in a Subcommittee on Oversight hearing on the taxpayer experience with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Curbelo asked United Way Miami Dade about the increasing demand for VITA services in South Florida. The two also discussed Miami’s vibrant, entrepreneurial economy and how the growth of these businesses are impacting individual filers.

Curbelo has been a consistent advocate for the VITA program. Earlier this year, Curbelo introduced the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Permanence Act of 2017,” H.R. 2901, bipartisan legislation to permanently extend the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. He also led a group of 55 bipartisan Members of Congress in a letter to urge House Appropriations leaders to provide full and robust funding for these programs. Curbelo also urged Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to protect funding for programs like VITA during a Ways and Means Committee hearing earlier this year. 

A full transcript of Curbelo’s opening remarks is available below. A video of the full exchange is available here. 

United Way Miami Testifies Before Curbelo, Ways and Means Committee on Low-Income Tax Preparation Services
Committee on Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee
Washington, D.C.
December 13, 2017

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing on such an important subject and allowing us to learn directly from those who interact the most with the I.R.S. One topic being discussed this morning that I am particularly proud to support is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA, or VITA as it’s called in Miami sometimes, partners with the federal government partners and local community to provide tax preparation services for individuals with annual incomes below $54,000 and for those with limited proficiency in English. The VITA preparation services are of the highest quality, with an accuracy rating of 94% - even including returns claiming the complicated Earned Income Tax Credit. The certified preparers in the VITA program help traditionally underserved populations navigate the obstacles associated with filing a tax return and protect them from fraudulent preparers. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, Mr. Chairman, and these are people who want to comply, who want to follow the law, who want to do the right thing, which is why I have become such a strong advocate for this program.

“I want to thank your committee staff, Mr. Chairman, for the great work they’re doing on this issue and others, and I am so pleased that H.R. 2901, the VITA Permanency Act I introduced with Rep. Danny Davis, has garnered the support of 38 bipartisan cosponsors, including 13 Members of this committee. It is great the Senate has included this language in their tax reform package. And I’ll continue to lead the charge to maintain full funding with the Appropriations Committee as we work towards a spending resolution for FY18.”

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