Everyone knows that figuring out how to file federal income tax returns can be difficult. That is why Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites are so vital to know about: they are free tax preparation sites staffed by volunteers who are certified by the IRS, available for people who earn low-to-middle incomes of $54,000 or less annually, to those with limited English, or who live with disabilities. A trusted resource, the IRS found that during last year’s tax season 94% of the tax returns filed with the help of VITA volunteers were accurate.
A little tax help can go a long way, and one important role that VITA sites play is educating people about the tax process. As one volunteer reflected, “’I can’t tell you how many times someone said to me ‘you are the first person to explain my tax return to me.’” VITA sites have also helped to put money back into the pockets of Nebraskans. In 2015, VITA volunteers brought Nebraskans back $26,452,874 in federal tax refunds. In addition to realizing tax refunds, volunteers connect people with tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For example, last year $8,080,109 was returned to Nebraskans through the EITC, thanks to VITA sites’ tax preparation. Some sites even go above and beyond, providing additional services such as financial education classes, small business services, and ESL outreach. Whether it is providing help with tax returns, obtaining refunds, or other services, VITA sites are an essential force for good in our communities.
Interested in obtaining VITA tax return help? Find a site near you.