VITA Season End Update
United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has concluded the 2022 tax season with monumental results. United Way’s VITA volunteers provided free tax preparation services to over 6,800 individuals and families who received approximately $10.8 million in tax refunds and saved over $2 million in tax preparation fees. This is money that goes back into our local community, which is especially helpful during a time when so many families who are seeing the cost of living rise daily and could use that money to pay higher rent and medical bills, cover escalating prices for food at the grocery store, and gas to get to work.
With the help of 170 determined IRS certified VITA volunteers and the support of many community partners, our local United Way operated 20 traditional tax sites, 10 mobile sites, and one completely virtual site. We were able to provide services that meet the needs and comfort level of our clients and volunteers throughout SWFL. Together the VITA volunteers provided over 14,777 hours of service, valued at $421,730; bringing our community impact for this program alone to $13.2 million.
Patrice Cunningham, United Way’s Volunteer Center Vice President shared, “We are grateful to have staff, volunteers, and partners who make this program so successful. Clients are truly grateful to have the assistance to properly file their taxes. With so many tax law changes; including advanced child credits, earned income credits, and dependent care credits; each year becomes more of a challenge, but the numbers reflect the dedication of our team and the trust the community has in our VITA program.”
The VITA program serves households earning $66,000 or less by accurately preparing and e-filing their federal tax returns for FREE. United Way’s IRS certified volunteers help determine if clients are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), education, and/or childcare credits when they file, ensuring clients get the full refund they are entitled to.
For those who still need to file their 2021 tax return, United Way has four year-round VITA sites located in Estero-San Carlos, LaBelle, Lehigh Acres, and Fort Myers. These year-round sites can also help with filing previous years’ taxes and amendments. All sites operate by appointment only, please call 239-433-3900 to schedule an appointment. Those who prefer to file on their own can do so free of charge at MyFreeTaxes.com as long as their total household income is under $66,000.
United Way will be recruiting volunteers to serve as tax preparers, greeters, and interpreters for the 2023 tax season over the next few months. Volunteers will complete free classroom and online tax preparation training and certification using the TaxSlayer software. To join the VITA team, visit https://www.unitedwaylee.org/become-vita-volunteer.