United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has concluded the 2023 tax season with monumental results. United Way’s VITA volunteers provided free tax preparation services to over 7,100 individuals and families who received approximately $7.9 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 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 purchase gas to get to work.
With the help of 177 determined IRS certified VITA volunteers and the support of many community partners, our local United Way operated 23 traditional tax sites. 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 14,624 hours of service, valued at $465,043; bringing our community impact for this program alone to $10.2 million.
“We deeply appreciate the commitment of our staff, volunteers, and partners who contribute significantly to the success of this program,” expressed Patrice Cunningham, Vice President of United Way’s Volunteer Center. “Clients genuinely express their gratitude for receiving assistance in accurately filing their taxes. With the ever-increasing complexity of tax laws, each year presents new challenges. However, the remarkable numbers we see are a testament to the unwavering dedication of our team and the trust the community places 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 2022 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 if 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.