Tax season is a stressful time for your workers. Sharing information about resources like free tax prep from the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is a smart way for employers to ease stress and boost wellness and productivity.

A TrustPlus client locates a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program site using IRS’ VITA Site Locator Tool

Tax season is a stressful time for your workers.

Sharing information about resources like free tax prep from the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, and pointing to tax credits workers should know about, is a low-to-no-cost way for employers to ease employee financial stress and boost wellness and productivity this tax season.

“People think of money as numbers on a tax statement, but it’s really not,” says Megan McCoy, an assistant professor in the department of personal financial planning at Kansas State University, per Jancee Dunn, writing in the New York Times. “Money is about power, control, safety, your future. It’s about survival, yet we try to repress the emotions that come up.”

Low-to-no-cost solution: share timely info

Special shoutout to folks in HR for small businesses: In lieu of often costly small business HR solutions, sharing timely info demonstrates empathy and that you care which generates its own rewards.

Workers who feel like you care about their well-being and understand their (financial) challenges are more engaged on the job and less likely to leave.

Does your workforce administration account for tax season stress?

Do your workers know about the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals:

  • People who generally make $64,000 or less;
  • Persons with disabilities; and;
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers?

Sound like anyone you know, who could benefit from free tax prep?

Ease employee financial stress, boost wellness, productivity asap

Ensuring your workers know about VITA also encourages them to file asap which will reduce their tax stress asap.

As Dunn notes, when people are exposed to life stressors, those who confront them have lower levels of stress hormones finds Jason Radley, an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Iowa.

Dr. McCoy, again:

“Problems in finance always come from delaying facing it head-on…The sooner you figure out what your tax situation is, the sooner you can talk to the government about a payment plan and figure out lower-interest options.”

So help your workforce confront their tax stress by showing that you care.

It’s smart leadership, as chronic stress from financial worries weighs on mental and physical health and increases the risk of cardiovascular problems and insomnia.

Financial health is mental health is physical health.

Two important things your workers should know about tax season:

Most workers can use the I.R.S. Free File program to complete and electronically file their returns at no cost; and

VITA is a vital resource for workers earning up to $64,000.

Free tax prep workers can trust

VITA sites are operated by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers who want to make a difference in their communities.

The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

All VITA volunteers who prepare returns complete tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards and includes maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information.

In addition to requiring volunteers to certify their knowledge of the tax laws, the IRS requires a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA site prior to filing.

Each filing season, tens of thousands of dedicated VITA volunteers prepare millions of federal and state returns.

The VITA program has operated for over 50 years and is recognized as a free, reliable and trusted source for preparing tax returns.

What your workers need to know: Find a VITA site near you

VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country.

Use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800–906–9887 to locate the nearest VITA site.

Before going to a VITA site, see Publication 3676-B for services provided and check out What to Bring to ensure you have all the required documents and information VITA volunteers will need to help you.

At select tax sites, taxpayers also have an option to prepare their own basic federal and state tax return for free using web-based tax preparation software with an IRS-certified volunteer to help guide you through the process.

This option is only available at locations that list “Self-Prep” in the site listing.

Schedule a time to speak with TrustPlus about easing employee financial stress during tax season and beyond, to capture the benefits of a financially healthy workforce.