Bethpage brings volunteer income tax assistance program online, offering members and non-members free virtual tax filing assistance for 2021
BETHPAGE, NY (February 4, 2021) —
Bethpage Federal Credit Union will help low-to-moderate income households prepare their tax returns by offering its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) free tax filing services online for the first time. Now, in its 18th year, the program is open to all eligible Long Islanders, including non-Bethpage members.
Starting Tuesday, February 2, through Thursday, April 8, 2021, trained and bilingual tax preparers will be available to assist eligible taxpayers with 2020 incomes of $57,000 and below, via pre-scheduled Zoom appointments. To schedule your appointment, visit lovebethpage.com/vita.
Additionally, Bethpage Federal Credit Union has partnered with New York State to provide free virtual workshops where taxpayers can utilize online software to file their own taxes. Volunteers from NYS will guide registrants step-by-step to prepare and e-file Federal and NYS income tax returns. For more information, visit lovebethpage.com/vita.
“It was very important to us that qualifying taxpayers be able to access free tax filing services during the pandemic,” said Rob Suarez, Assistant Vice President, Bethpage. “Since that decision was made, we worked to develop a virtual VITA program for our tax preparers to work directly with tax payers to seamlessly handle the filings. We’ve also been working closely with the IRS to head up an education program to help other organizations across Long Island go online as well. While most continue to struggle with COVID concerns, safety is our number one priority.”
Bethpage has secured over 50 trained volunteers from Adelphi University, Long Island University, Molloy College, and New York Institute of Technology, who will work one-on-one virtually with tax payers to prepare the returns.
Bethpage VITA volunteers will also educate eligible working families about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) while preparing tax returns. The EITC is an anti-poverty program available to four out of five eligible Long Island households. VITA volunteers will work with taxpayers to ensure that eligible families are aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which could bring up to $6,557 into the hands of deserving Long Island families. Credit amounts are based on income levels, filing status and other factors. Eligible households can claim up to three years back of Earned Income Tax Credits.
Bethpage has also partnered with The Health & Welfare Council of Long Island, which is an umbrella human services organization consisting of over 100 member organizations. HWCLI has teamed up with getyourrefund.org to help people file their taxes online with the help of HWCLI Staff and IRS- certified volunteers from across Long Island. This year, taxpayers will be able to access their tax services from the comfort and safety of their own home by visiting https://hwcli.com/vita, or reaching out by email or phone at email@example.com or 517/738- 0447.
In 2020, Bethpage completed 1,341 VITA tax returns and helped secure IRS total refunds of over $1,700,000. Bethpage also helped secure $163,419 in child tax credits in 202O, and $425,256 in Earned Income Tax Credits.
Since the program’s inception in 2004, over 24,266 individuals have filed their tax returns through Bethpage, resulting in $26,552,294 million returned to the Long Island community.
Qualifying taxpayers planning to take advantage of Bethpage’s VITA program must bring the following materials with them for review: photo identification, social security cards for you, your spouse, and dependents, current year’s tax package if you received one, wage and earnings statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R from all employers, interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099), a copy of last year’s Federal and State returns if available, bank routing and account numbers for tax refund direct deposit, total paid for daycare, and provider’s tax ID.
For more information, please visit Bethpage’s “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program – VITA” page located in the Community Section at www.lovebethpage.com/vita or contact Community Development directly at 516/349-4288, or by email at Community@bethpagefcu.com.
VITA Webpage 2021
About Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Bethpage Federal Credit Union is a premier community financial institution committed to enriching the lives of its members, employees and the communities it serves for the past 80 years. Bethpage is the largest credit union in the Northeast Region, and the 14th largest in the nation.
As a not-for-profit credit union, Bethpage is committed to its members and the communities it serves. In addition to giving back to its members in the form of great rates and low fees, the Bethpage Cares program invests heavily in local, high-impact community programs that serve with an eye towards creating better communities through diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Named a Forbes “Best Place to Bank in New York,” the fifth “Best Company to Work for in New York State” by the New York State Society for Human Resources Management and a Glass Door Top Place to work for Small & Midsize companies in the US, Bethpage is a federally chartered credit union, available to people nationwide who open a $5 dollar membership account. Bethpage offers a robust digital platform that allows members to bank from anywhere. Bethpage is a part of the national CO-OP network that gives members access to their accounts at over 30,000 free ATMs and 5,000+ shared branches across the U.S. As a financial cooperative, Bethpage offers the best-in market rates, lowest fees and world-class service, plus a full menu of personal and commercial financial services. For more information on Bethpage’s robust portfolio of banking, borrowing, and investment services, visit www.lovebethpage.com or call 1-800- 628-7070.