The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income members of our community. During the 2014 tax year, VITA volunteers completed and filed state and federal income tax returns for 1,695 people — an increase of 61% from the previous year. One hour of volunteer time created $1,186 in tax refunds for a member of our community, saving taxpayers about $366,120 by having their taxes done for free.
As VITA continues to grow, so does the need for volunteers. This year, United Way hopes to recruit 60 volunteers to accommodate more individuals and families who can’t afford tax preparation services. VITA volunteers act as greeters and tax preparers and have the satisfaction of helping people in our community.
VITA tax preparers volunteer 3–6 hours per week of their time during tax season at one of three sites in the southeast and northwest sides of town, and receive training to complete IRS certification. This training ensures families receive all eligible benefits and deductions, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, Education Tax Credit and Child Care Deduction.