PITTSBURGH, Jan. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- PNC Bank today announced its annual support of a federal program that offers free tax services to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, along with an expanded effort to help them receive faster refunds.
PNC will collaborate with the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for free tax filing services at more than 160 VITA sites in 13 states and Washington, D.C. IRS-certified volunteers working with the VITA program will be available to provide tax filing assistance for people who generally earn less than $52,000 a year.
Once again, VITA participants have the option to receive faster refunds on PNC Visa® refund cards usable at 30 million locations. Since 2011, the number of VITA clients choosing to receive refunds on cards has risen 60 percent, reflecting the continuing shift toward electronic and mobile banking services. Last year, approximately 1,000 free cards were distributed by PNC, with an average IRS refund of more than $950. Other PNC services offered at VITA sites include financial education programs and no-cost refund check cashing at participating sites and designated PNC branches.
"We are very appreciative of how financial institutions have embraced the VITA program," said Peggy Bogadi, IRS commissioner, Wage and Investment division. "They continue to provide a valuable service to low-income taxpayers and communities across the country through their free tax preparation and financial education programs."
Many tax filers miss out on a beneficial tax credit – the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), either because they don't claim it when filing, or don't file a tax return. VITA volunteers will determine if taxpayers qualify for the EITC and other refundable credits. Last year, the credit returned close to $62 billion to more than 26 million workers. Workers who qualify for EITC could receive larger refunds. It can mean up to $487 in EITC for people without children, and up to $6,044 for those with three or more qualifying children. The credit varies by income, family size and filing status. The average EITC amount last year was $2,355.
"PNC has expanded its support for this program for 2014, especially in our Southeast markets, to help more low- to moderate-income taxpayers," said Cathy Niederberger, managing director of PNC's Community Development Banking Group. "We remain committed to supporting no-cost tax-filing services for taxpayers, and assisting unbanked consumers in economically challenged communities."
Niederberger also said the Visa® card, which provides a low-fee alternative for those VITA clients without bank accounts, offers taxpayers quick and easy access to their refunds.
Card benefits include:
- Speedy refund: Receive refunds typically in less than 21 days once the request is filed by the VITA site.
- Ease of use: Buy items in stores, online, by mail or phone.
- Pay everyday expenses: Pay bills and make purchases such as groceries, gas, and clothing.
- Access to ATMs: Use cards fee-free at 40,000 PNC and Allpoint® network ATM locations.
What to Bring to a VITA Site
Taxpayers who visit a VITA site should bring wages and earnings statements (Form W-2) from all employers, interest statements from banks (Form 1099), a copy of their previous year's tax return if available, and other relevant information about income and expenses.
This year, PNC teams support VITA sites in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin. Dates may vary by site. For a list of sites and available dates, please visit http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Find-a-Location-for-Free-Tax-Prep.
PNC Bank is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC, (www.pnc.com), is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. Follow @PNCNews on Twitter for breaking news, updates and announcements from PNC.
Robert J. Darmanin
SOURCE PNC Bank