NIA is the lead agency for the Savannah Coastal Empire Asset Development Coalition (SCEADC). The Coalition is a community based collaborative of social service organizations, governmental agencies, business and financial institutions dedicated to promoting financial education and stability for working individuals and families in the Savannah Chatham County and surrounding areas.
The SCEADC was established in 2001 (originally as the Savannah Earned Income Tax Credit EITC/Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Coalition VITA) as a group of concerned community based organizations and citizens interested in providing free tax services to low and moderate income families. The initial Coalition was an outgrowth of a local investment from the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Savannah called “Targeted Investments” and the technical support from The Internal Revenue Service (IRS). One of the family strengthening goals of the initiative was increasing economic outcomes for poor families.
The purpose of the SCEADC is to provide low-income to moderate residents of Savannah, GA and surrounding counties with free income tax preparation assistance through the use of IRS certified volunteers, working at easily accessible neighborhood based sites. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites operate under the guidelines and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service’s at no charge. VITA sites are located in community agencies, churches, libraries, public assistance offices, and other public places. VITA sites generally operate from late January thru April 15th. Hours of operations are based on the sites capacity. VITA sites files returns electronically through an IRS supported software which makes it less likely to file an incomplete return and help avoid refund delays. All returns are prepared by IRS trained and certified volunteers.
The initial Coalition consisted of six (6) VITA sites and a host of other committee partners, including the Internal Revenue Service’s regional office in Atlanta, GA, which also provided training and technical assistance to the sites. Since 2001 the Coalition has welcomed several new partners and the numbers of sites has increased over the years. The Coalition is now a collaborative partner with the Step Up Initiative which is designed to eliminate poverty in Savannah. The SCEADC recognizes that in order to strengthen families we need accessible and sustained resources to achieve economic and financial success. Each year SCEADC hosts several free income tax preparation sites which serve low and moderate income families qualifying for the earned income tax credit (EITC). We serve anyone within our communities regardless of income.
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