Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

The mission of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is to provide free tax help to low- and moderate-income individuals and families, persons with disabilities and limited-English-speaking taxpayers in Washington, DC and neighboring counties in Maryland and Virginia who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Essentially, VITA is tax counseling for the people who need it most!

We achieve this mission by:

Partnering with IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers at VITA sites to provide free tax-preparation assistance to individuals earning less than $57,000 in 2020.

If you earn less than $57,000 you may be eligible to have your tax returns filed for free and qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, IRS-certified volunteers provide free, basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit for people who work but earn below a certain amount. A tax credit usually means more money in your pocket because it reduces the amount of tax you owe, resulting in a bigger refund. The EITC is considered an important tool in lifting folks out of poverty.

While the Greater Washington Area has one of the highest percentages of eligible filers taking advantage of the credit, there are still thousands of low-income households not receiving their maximum refund, either because they are unaware of the EITC, or don’t have access to the tax filing services to help them apply for it. United Way NCA raises awareness and provides access to free tax preparation or assisted self-filing services for low income community members around the DC, VA, and MD regions.

In collaboration with our community partners and VITA sites, we help low income residents maximize available credits and receive tax refunds. During 2020, our VITA program mobilized volunteer tax preparers to provide tax assistance and prepare over 11,000 tax returns for low income residents. Through our partnership, we helped local families receive a total of over $21.5 million in federal refunds.

  • Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB)
  • Prince George’s Community College
  • Enterprise Development Group
  • Catholic Charities
  • United Planning Organization (UPO)
  • Coalition for the Advancement of Financial Education Montgomery MD (CAFE Montgomery)
  • Community Tax Aid

Sign up here to provide low income tax filing assistance by becoming a VITA volunteer at a local tax site.

VITA TAX HELP FAQs

  • How do I find a VITA tax site near me?
  • How much does low income tax filing through VITA cost?

    This service is absolutely FREE. Download a list of VITA sites here.

  • How can I promote my VITA site?

    We have prepared a toolkit containing the following creative assets:

    • General Flyer – Site name and details can be filled in
    • Detailed Flyer – Site name and details can be filled in
    • Social media graphics for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
    • Email Signature

    Download the toolkit here.

  • How do I get VITA certified?

    There are a variety of VITA volunteer roles available and free training opportunities for roles that require specialized skills. Anyone who helps review or prepare tax returns must be certified. This process includes being properly trained in tax law and passing a certification test applicable to the level of tax training you wish to complete. Training and testing can be done online, and you will need a minimum score of 80% to pass the exam. If you are interested in learning more about the specific steps to becoming a certified VITA volunteer, please visit the IRS page about VITA training.

  • Is VITA still doing taxes?

    The VITA services will run through the tax deadline of April 15, 2021, with some of our partners expanding their services to the new Tax Day deadline of May 17. Many of our VITA sites are currently offering virtual help as well.