Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

VITA is tax counseling for the people who need it most.

Mission

Mission

What is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program?

VITA is tax counseling for the people who need it most.

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.

We achieve this mission by:

  • Partnering with IRS-certified VITA tax volunteers at VITA sites to provide free, low-income tax assistance to individuals earning less than $57,000 in 2020.

Eligibility

Sponsors

Vita Tax Prep Eligibility

If you earn less than $57,000 you may be eligible for low income tax assistance and qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC helps low- to moderate-income workers and their families get a tax break. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) can be accessed by most community members but eligibility and credit amount depends on your income, family size, and other factors.

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, IRS-certified VITA tax 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 in DC or assisted self-filing services for low income community members around the Capital Area, VA, and MD regions.

To learn more about VITA services and who qualifies, please visit the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers

To learn more about who is qualified to receive Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), please visit the IRS website here: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/who-qualifies-for-the-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc 

How To Help

Get Involved / How to Help

Help By Becoming A Vita Tax Volunteer

VITA volunteers assist low- to moderate- income workers and their families with tax preparation completely free of charge. This is a very valuable service and many of the filers are filing for the first time and need assistance in understanding their taxes and possible tax credits they may be eligible to receive. VITA tax volunteers also support filers in obtaining their refunds, which can have a large impact on the individuals or families life and financial well-being.

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

To learn more about how to become a certified VITA volunteer please visit the IRS website here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-tax-volunteers

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Partner Organizations

Partner Organizations
working quietly

Partner Tax Preparation Organizations

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 low income 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.

Our partners include:

  • 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
caab PGCC edg catholic charities UPOLogoStacked tax aid

What is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program?

VITA is tax counseling for the people who need it most.

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.

We achieve this mission by:

  • Partnering with IRS-certified VITA tax volunteers at VITA sites to provide free, low-income tax assistance to individuals earning less than $57,000 in 2020.

Vita Tax Prep Eligibility

If you earn less than $57,000 you may be eligible for low income tax assistance and qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC helps low- to moderate-income workers and their families get a tax break. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) can be accessed by most community members but eligibility and credit amount depends on your income, family size, and other factors.

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, IRS-certified VITA tax 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 in DC or assisted self-filing services for low income community members around the Capital Area, VA, and MD regions.

To learn more about VITA services and who qualifies, please visit the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers

To learn more about who is qualified to receive Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), please visit the IRS website here: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/who-qualifies-for-the-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc 

Help By Becoming A Vita Tax Volunteer

VITA volunteers assist low- to moderate- income workers and their families with tax preparation completely free of charge. This is a very valuable service and many of the filers are filing for the first time and need assistance in understanding their taxes and possible tax credits they may be eligible to receive. VITA tax volunteers also support filers in obtaining their refunds, which can have a large impact on the individuals or families life and financial well-being.

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

To learn more about how to become a certified VITA volunteer please visit the IRS website here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-tax-volunteers

Partner Tax Preparation Organizations

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 low income 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.

Our partners include:

  • 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
caab PGCC edg catholic charities UPOLogoStacked tax aid

Vita Tax Help DC FAQS

How do I find a VITA tax site near me?
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How much does low income tax filing through VITA cost?
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This service is absolutely FREE. Eligible individuals can get free tax preparation in DC and surrounding areas by VITA tax volunteers.

How can I promote my VITA site?
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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?
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There are a variety of VITA tax 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 tax volunteer, please visit the IRS page about VITA training.

Is VITA still doing taxes?
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The VITA tax prep 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.

What should I bring for VITA tax prep?
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Some commonly requested items to bring to your VITA tax prep session include:

  • A Social Security card and/or ITIN for EACH family member. We cannot use prior year files to verify Social Security number
  • A photo ID for each filer
  • W-2 forms for all jobs worked in 2020
  • Child care provider name, address, and tax ID number or Social Security number
  • All banking account information (a voided check and/or savings deposit slip) to direct deposit your refund
  • A copy of last year’s tax return
  • Any document or information about money you have received from the IRS or state
  • All 1099 forms for other income, if any
  • Any other tax related documents you have received
  • If you are a victim of identity theft, you must bring the letter from the IRS with your PIN number. A new letter is issued from the IRS every year.
  • If you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace for 2020, through Medicare/Medicaid, or through your employer, you should receive a Form 1095-A, B, and/or C. Please bring this form with you to complete your 2020 federal tax return.
  • If you have a Marketplace Exemption, please contact the Marketplace and get your Marketplace Exemption Certificate number to complete your 2020 federal ​ tax return.
  • If you are married and filing jointly, your spouse must be present. If you are married and filing separately, you need your spouse’s name as spelled on his/her Social Security card and your spouse’s Social Security number.