What to know about VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

Today is VITA Awareness Day. Each year, thousands of IRS certified volunteers share their time and expertise at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the country to help millions of Americans file taxes free of charge. VITA is an IRS-sponsored program staffed by volunteers who are committed to helping low- and moderate-income people file their taxes accurately.

This year, in addition to learning about tax law changes, VITA sites had to redesign how they operate in a pandemic. Here are five things to know about filing taxes through VITA this year:

  1. Service delivery has changed. Most sites provide virtual or drop-off tax help due to the pandemic. If you need in-person help, call first. Some sites offer face-to-face appointments on a limited basis.
  2. VITA sites are staffed by experts. VITA volunteers must complete an annual training and IRS certification. This means that they know what they’re doing! Most paid preparers don’t have a similar licensing requirement.
  3. Accuracy is a top priority. Tax returns are always reviewed by at least two people before submitting to the IRS. Volunteers are committed to following the law and will not alter your return so that you can get a larger refund.
  4. You can understand your taxes. VITA volunteers are ready to demystify taxes. They want to help you understand the why behind your taxes.
  5. VITA sites are doing their best. Many sites have had to scale back on services and are continuing to navigate tax law changes. Be patient, especially if you reach out to a site and don’t hear back right away.

Use this VITA locator to find a site near you. If you cannot find a location, consider filing your taxes virtually through www.GetYourRefund.org, a mobile-friendly platform that uses IRS-certified volunteers to file federal and state returns for free.

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