This year, PA 211 provided the scheduling for United Way of PA Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in twelve counties. VITA is a program that provides free assistance with completing and filing federal tax returns for households with less than a certain amount of yearly income, typically under $58,000 for this tax season. United Way of Pennsylvania VITA volunteers are trained to provide accurate tax filing and ensure low-income families receive all tax credits they’re eligible for. Studies have shown that returns filed by trained VITA site volunteers are more likely to be accurate than those prepared by private companies with a 93% accuracy rating. In 2018, the average tax returned filed by VITA sites resulted in a $1,417 tax refund.
Many ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) families are eligible for United Way of Pennsylvania VITA programs, where they can have their taxes prepared at no cost. These tax refunds are huge for ALICE families and ensure that they have available funds to invest in their homes, education, and transportation. This is part of a path to financial stability that is easily available to most ALICE families. Because tax refunds and tax credits are so important to ALICE households, UWP continues to advocate for tax policies that assist ALICE households in pursuing financial stability.
PA 211 Resource Navigators have helped book 17,675 VITA appointments as of April 12th. In addition, 3,512 people have taken advantage of self-scheduling to conveniently schedule their own appointments online. This means that PA 211 has helped 21,187 appointments be scheduled for this year’s tax season! If you still need to file your taxes, there may be options available for you:
- Most VITA sites will be closing at the end of tax season (April 18th), however others will remain open to continue to schedule tax appointments after the deadline to file has passed. For assistance, you can call 211 or go to 211.org to see if there is a VITA program continuing to operate in your area.
- MyFreeTaxes.com is a free web-based tool to file your taxes independently, and there is phone support available in multiple languages. There is no income limit to use MyFreeTaxes.com, however, this tool is intended for simple tax returns.