United Way VITA program brings $4,689,000 in refunds

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee provided free tax preparation services to 3,450 individuals and families in Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties for the 2015 tax year. Refunds to those using the free service totaled over $4,689,000.

United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a free tax filing service available to individuals and families making $60,000 or less, and is available at United Way Houses and other locations during the tax season. The purpose of the United Way VITA program is to help provide financial stability for working families. 80 volunteer tax preparers were trained and certified in partnership with the IRS. Appointments are still available to file a 2015 return at the Estero-San Carlos United Way House, LaBelle United Way House, and the Riverdale Library. Those who prefer to file on their own can do so free of charge at MyFreeTaxes.com.

“United Way VITA brought over $4,689,000 back to people who need it and into the economy of our community. The service makes a real difference in the lives of people by helping get refunds for the taxes they have already paid, and helping them become more financially stable,” said Cliff Smith, President of the United Way. “United Way VITA preparers are trained to look for credits and deductions that are especially helpful to lower and middle income working families such as the earned income tax credit, child tax credits, and others.”

Not only does United Way VITA save the tax payer the preparation fee, but the average refund was more than $1400 which is a substantial amount for lower to middle income working families. It can help keep working families in their homes by catching up house payments, paying medical bills, and many important uses.

The United Way will be recruiting volunteers to serve as tax preparers, greeters, and interpreters for the 2016 tax year over the next few months. Volunteers will complete free classroom and online tax preparation training and certification using the TaxSlayer software.

For more information, or to make an appointment to file taxes please call United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or in Hendry and Glades Counties (800) 887-9234 Ext. 275.

https://www.UnitedWayLee.org/VITA

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies and initiatives, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has raised and distributed over $147 million since it was established in 1957. For more information please call United Way at (239) 433-2000 or visit www.UnitedWayLee.org.