The tax season is upon us. If you earn $74,000 or less, you can get your 2021 taxes prepared for free through the United Way Suncoast’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
Douglas Griesenauer, director of workforce development and financial stability for United Way Suncoast, said, “No one should have to pay to file taxes; everyone should have it done for free.”
The United Way Suncoast VITA Program uses only certified IRS tax preparers who will make sure your tax return is prepared accurately.
Griesenauer said, “Every single person’s taxes are done and double-checked for accuracy.”
The VITA staff can help you navigate the complexities. While you can file your own taxes with no assistance, VITA volunteers assure that you get the maximum refund, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. It is also important for taxpayers who received a COVID-19 relief Economic Impact Payment last year or who got an advance Child Tax Credit payment to make sure they report the correct amount on their tax returns.
The VITA Program has been around for more than 50 years. United Way Suncoast has been offering the program for many years and helps an average of 12,000 residents prepare their tax returns.
Residents need to make an appointment by visiting http://www.uwsvita.org or by calling 833-897-8482 (833-UWS-VITA). Residents need to show either a social security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). You must also bring all of your tax-related documents and your tax return will be prepared for you.
If you prefer to do your return yourself, you can use the above website for free to prepare and file your return.
United Way Suncoast is always looking for skilled tax preparers to volunteer in the program. However, it offers a training program which takes approximately four and a half days to train anyone interested in volunteering for the program.
United Way Suncoast offers a whole host of programs, including housing support, financial support, education and more.
Griesenauer said, “We are here for the community so people can live successful lives. If we cannot provide the support or assistance needed, we can refer you to another nonprofit.”
For more information, please visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org.