Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs and Taxpayer Actions to Improve Personal Finances
The income tax-filing process creates teachable moments for learning about taxes and other financial matters. Educators and volunteers from Penn State Cooperative Extension helped taxpayers file 2008 returns under Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Nearly 600 filers (588) completed and simultaneously received educational information about managing personal finances. This article describes the actions taxpayers took to improve their financial stability. Nearly half (48.8%) of the filers believed their understanding of taxes had increased a lot since having their taxes prepared by Penn State Cooperative Extension. Implications for Extension educators and program benefits for taxpayers and volunteers are suggested.