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United Way Suncoast launches annual VITA initiative for tax preparers

Tax season officially begins Jan. 29, so once again United Way Suncoast has launched its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) initiative. Any household with annual earnings of $79,000 or less can receive FREE tax preparation services online or at our various VITA sites.

Unlike some of the tax preparers that charge an average of $240, VITA doesn’t have moon-walking mascots, animated graphics, or funny commercials. But it does have an army of IRS-trained volunteers, sites in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties and a true desire to help community members. In 2023, United Way Suncoast and its partners like AARP brought back $13.8 million in returns, tax credits and savings on preparation fees to the region. VITA is vital to residents and the area’s economy.

EITC Awareness Day On Jan. 26

On Jan. 26, Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, United Way Suncoast will join the IRS and supporters across the nation to increase awareness of the EITC among potentially eligible taxpayers at the time when most of them are filing or getting ready to file their federal income tax returns. We want to ensure millions of workers get the credits they earned and deserve. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit has previously helped lift millions of families and children out of poverty.

Tax-A-Thons Coming Up

To further amplify its efforts, United Way Suncoast will hold three Tax-A-Thons. On Feb. 10, it’ll hold the Sarasota-Manatee Tax-A-Thon from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota, 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. On Feb. 17, it’ll stage the Hillsborough-Pinellas Tax-A-Thon from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the HCC Dale Mabry Campus, 4001 W Tampa Bay Blvd. in Tampa. And on March 30, it’ll hold the DeSoto Tax Action Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the All-Faiths Food Bank Resource Center, 1021 E Oak St. in Arcadia.

These Saturday events are particularly good for those who work weekdays, and at each there will be information about our other financial stability services and our Centennial Celebration. United Way Suncoast is celebrating its 100th year with a focus on all its achieved since 1924 and all it will achieve in its second century of service.

Self-Prep Option Also Available

VITA also offers a self-prep option which is good for individuals with straight-forward returns who feel comfortable with the technology. You can learn more about all the services by going to uwsvita.org or calling 833-897-8482.

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