With tax season now behind us, we’re excited to share our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program results for the 2018 tax season! VITA assists low to moderate income individuals and families with free tax preparation services as part of its financial stability focus for two reasons. The first is that roughly 20% of individuals who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) don’t know to file for it, losing thousands of dollars in refunds. The other is to help ensure our most vulnerable families save on tax preparation services, which can elsewhere cost them hundreds of dollars, so they can use that savings to pay down debt, secure safe housing, save for an education and more.
We completed 11,069 returns for Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and DeSoto counties. This includes both e-filed and paper returns. Using over 300 trained volunteers, taxpayers saved over $25 million in both savings from tax preparation fees and refunds that were given back to the community.
United Way Suncoast prepares, e-files, and arranges direct deposit for your federal tax return for FREE as part of our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. IRS-certified volunteers helped ensure participants received the largest refund for which they qualified, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Income tax returns were prepared and electronically filed for free at 33 different locations in our five-county region.
United Way Suncoast, with partnerships across the community, is committed to helping individuals in the communities we serve achieve financial stability by leading and participating in programs focused on helping them increase income and build financial assets. To learn more about VITA and our sites for our year-round tax preparation services, click here.