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Cash from Tax Refunds and Help for Filing Tax Returns

Important Information

Most VDSS clients are eligible for significant cash benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), and the new refundable Virginia Earned Income Tax Credit. You must file your federal and state tax returns to receive these cash benefits.

  • Up to $6,935 from the federal Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Up to $2,000 per child from the federal Child Tax Credit
  • Up to $1,040 from the new Virginia Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Additional cash benefits from the IRS sending your withholdings back to you

VDSS can help you get cash from tax refunds. You will not lose any VDSS benefits if you receive these cash benefits.

How to Prepare for Tax Filing

Tax filing starts in January 2023. Here's how you can prepare now:

  • Plan to file your tax return electronically, if possible.
  • Plan to file your taxes for free. Most VDSS clients qualify for free tax preparation assistance through in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations or online through
  • If you are a parent/guardian who claims your child(ren) as dependents every other year, confirm who is claiming them before filing. If both taxpayers claim a child on separate tax returns, this may create errors and tax refunds may be delayed or even disallowed.
  • Confirm that you have a valid Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Make sure you have proof of income. Confirm that you employer will provide you a W-2 or that you will receive a 1099 for contractor work. Keep track of your income and expenses if you are self-employed.
  • If you do not plan on filing or face any difficulty in filing taxes, please let us know by completing this voluntary, anonymous survey. Your response will help VDSS identify strategies that could relieve some of the challenges experienced by the families in the future.

Once Tax Season Starts

Once tax season starts, you can receive help to file your taxes for free:

The website will walk you through a four-step process:

  1. Answer questions about your income and household.
  2. Upload pictures or files for your identity, income, and other tax documents.
  3. Your tax preparer will review everything with you over the phone (you can choose text or phone call options). Be sure to have a reliable phone number for the review to take place.
  4. Your tax preparer will help you file your completed tax return electronically.

Free virtual or in-person filing with the IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is also available. To find an in-person VITA site, you can use the VITA Site Locator, dial 2-1-1, or visit

Additional Help

If you need help responding to an IRS notice or audit, or you require any other tax assistance, you can:

Custodial and non-custodial parents:

  • Usually, custodial parents claim any qualifying children as dependents.
  • Non-custodial parents may qualify for the childless EITC and tax refunds can help pay off child support debts.

Missing income proof documents?

  • You can still file by filing out IRS Form 4852, "Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement".

No permanent address or experiencing homelessness?

  • You may be able to use an address from a trusted relative or friend, a shelter, or a service provider, such as a health care clinic or community action agency.

Information for employers: Effective July 1, 2009, § 40.1-28.7:3 of the Code of Virginia requires employers to post notices about the federal EITC and Virginia Credit for Low Income Individuals (CLI).

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