Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today approved a bipartisan amendment authored by U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to support free tax preparation sites that help individuals and families file their income tax returns. Specifically, the amendment increases federal investment in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program from $15 million to $20 million. The amendment, which passed the U.S. Senate 98-1, is now included in the U.S. Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which is currently being considered on the Senate floor as part of H.R. 6147, Minibus Appropriations.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speakers by helping prepare and file their income tax returns. During the 2016 income tax filing season, VITA programs nationwide filed more than 3.8 million federal income tax returns. This helped Americans claim approximately $1.1 billion they’d earned over the tax year.

“Each year, VITA programs help tens of thousands of Nevadans and millions of taxpayers around the country keep more of their hard-earned money. In fact, recent data shows that VITA sites helped nearly 23,000 Nevadans file their returns and processed refunds that exceeded $25 million. It’s important that we build on the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and take additional steps to ensure that Nevada families are fully able to realize the benefits of the new tax law,” said Heller. “I am proud to partner with Senator Brown on this amendment that creates a level-playing field for Nevadans and will allow them to maximize their returns, and I’ll continue to work to see the measure signed into law.”

“Wall Street CEOs and big corporations have armies of accountants at their disposal, but most people don’t have that luxury,” said Brown. “That’s why we have VITA sites – to work for American families. I want to thank my colleague Senator Heller for working with me on this bipartisan amendment to increase our support for these sites that help Americans get more of their hard-earned money back.”

In 2017, Heller and Brown introduced the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Permanence Act, which would make permanent an Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-administered matching grant program for volunteer tax preparation sites nationwide. The bill marked the first piece of bipartisan legislation to authorize VITA permanently and follows clearance of a similar bipartisan measure in the Senate Finance Committee last year.

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