It is almost time for the season people dread, year after year - it  is Tax season. But for someone like me, it makes me excited.  After reading about United Way's need for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers in 2012, I decided to answer their call. But what is VITA?
 
VITA is an IRS-grant funded program that provides FREE tax-preparation services for low- to moderate-income level individuals and families. It also extends tax preparation services to under-served populations in hard to reach areas in both rural and urban communities. The VITA program recruits and trains volunteers to be IRS-certified  tax preparers. While there are different levels of certification, ranging from basic to international levels -anybody can volunteer - no experience necessary. With 12 VITA sites serving our six-county region, we are always looking for volunteers so we can reach as many people as possible in our community.
 
Last year, VITA volunteers made a huge impact in our community by saving tax payers an average of $152 for tax preparation services. Because one of our primary goals is to ensure that low- to moderate-income individuals and families take advantage of every tax deduction and credit that they are eligible for, one of the credits we explore for all families is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) providing families with an average return of $1,723. While there are VITA income guidelines, l ast year 92 percent of all clients served had a gross income of less than $54,000. T hose that prefer to tackle their tax return on their own are invited to take advantage of our My Free Taxes tax preparation portal at www.unitedwayncfl.org/vita. It is an easy, safe and free way to file taxes online.
 
Volunteers change lives. If you are interested in becoming a VITA volunteer, please contact Marilyn Taylor at mtaylor@unitedwayncfl.org


#LiveUnited
 
Marilyn Taylor
VITA Program Coordinator



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