Eye on the Long-Term — COVID-19, VITA, and the Future of Free Tax Preparation

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The COVID-19 crisis completely altered the VITA landscape and tax preparation in this extended 2020-tax season. The VITA community was forced to retool to meet the moment for its existing clients  – primarily without brick and mortar sites and in-person tax prep –  and took on the additional task and opportunity of reaching non-filers eligible for stimulus checks. Many sites built or expanded on alternative delivery models; some sites struggled to make the shift. As we start to look to the next tax season and beyond:

  • What can we learn from the experiences of this past tax season? What are the ongoing gaps and barriers being carried into next tax season?
  • Is the shift to alternative service delivery models a shift for the moment or an investment in a permanent infrastructure transition?
  • If virtual is the way forward, what are the opportunities and the missing pieces?
  • How do we think about tying the work to financial capability and other services going forward?
  • How can we best support the field in this moment and with an eye on the long-term?

  • Liz Brister, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Entergy (moderator)
  • Julie Hahn Hodgson, Program Officer, Citi Foundation
  • Courtney O’Reilly,  Director, Tax Help Colorado
  • Rebecca M. Thompson,  Associate Director of Field Engagement & TON, Prosperity Now

This funder conversation will provide an opportunity to hear reflections on this past tax season, discuss lessons learned, and talk together as a funder community about ways to apply these learnings and ensure and expand access to critical VITA services going forward.

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