United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program underway

Free service helped return more than $25 million to Arizona taxpayers last year

United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program underway
Tax season is just around the corner. Today’s Angie’s List report offers advice to help decode the tax changes that will impact homeowners in 2018. (Source: Pixabay)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Recent changes to tax laws have resulted in a greater number of wage-earners planning to seek professional filing assistance, and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is offering its assistance again this year through free tax return preparation services for individuals and families earning up to $66,000 annually.

Through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, the organization is hosting eight sites across Southern Arizona, staffed by IRS-certified preparer volunteers, that will help taxpayers to maximize their refunds.

VITA tax preparation is offered as a free service and saves taxpayers an average of $250 per return. The program helps taxpayers access all tax credits for which they are eligible – including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), and has become an essential service to thousands of Arizona residents.

“The VITA program is so much more than free tax preparation,” said Tony Penn, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, in a recent news release. “The impact of this program is significant, measured in the real difference it makes for families in need, from the families last year who were able to avoid eviction or obtain affordable housing because of VITA to the families whose outreach to VITA helped them to become more financially stable,” he continued. “Fighting for financial stability is one of the core pillars of our United Way, and VITA is an important tool in this fight.”

VITA volunteers must complete an intense IRS-sponsored certification program every year, and most return year after year. Individuals seeking assistance will have their respective returns prepared by a volunteer, with a second volunteer assigned to review the return before it is filed. With more complex cases, a third volunteer will triple-check the return.

Those seeking quality tax preparation assistance at no cost should visit www.unitedwaytucson.org/vita for complete information about locations, schedules and required documents.

In addition to the on-site services at the eight locations, tax filers also have the option of filing on their own using free, easy, and secure interview-style online software and are encouraged to visit https://www.unitedwaytucson.org/freefile.

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