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Empire Justice Center receives federal grant

The Internal Revenue Service announced the award of more than $11 million in matching grants to support its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

The Empire Justice Center will receive $110,000. Other Fourth Department recipients are the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Center Inc. in Erie County, $100,000; and the United Way of the Southern Tier Inc. in Corning, Steuben County, $50,000. All three are among 177 organizations that will offer free tax preparation services during the 2011 filing season at locations nationwide.

The funds will be used to enable VITA programs to extend services to underserved populations and hardest to reach areas, both urban and non-urban; increase the capacity to file returns electronically; heighten quality control and improve the accuracy of returns prepared by the VITA sites; and volunteer training.

More than $33 million in matching funds was requested by 374 applying VITA partner organizations.

For tax year 2010, individuals and families with an adjusted gross income of $49,000 or lower are eligible for assistance.