The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program delivers one of the most crucial resources to low-income communities across the national capital region. To those making under $55,000 a year, the free high-quality tax preparation services offered through VITA sites help families get back more from their taxes every year, even allowing some participants to lift themselves out of poverty.
“I bought myself a phone and a laptop,” shares Jonah, a VITA recipient revealing a shy but proud smile. “It’s easy, it’s organized… it’s not crowded!” he laughs.
Powered by IRS-certified volunteers, VITA sites assist families in applying for refundable tax credits that they otherwise might not have known they were eligible for like the Earned Income Tax Credit. Such credits can help individuals earn back as much as $13,000 on their return—money they can use to invest in things like reliable transportation, education, healthcare, and reduce debt. For many working families across the Washington Metropolitan area, the money on their return will be the largest sum of money they receive at one time all year.
Last year, United Way NCA’s sponsored program served 2,614 people and resulted in over $1.3 million back into the hands of families who need it the most. For those affected by the shutdown in January, the free tax services offered through VITA gave many in the region an opportunity to mitigate the losses experienced as a result of the furlough.
To learn more, visit unitedwaynca.org/vita.