Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
During tax season, VITA provides the help people need preparing their returns.
So long as we live, there will be taxes. For low- to middle-income taxpayers who make $54,000 or less annually, who have a disability preventing them from filing, or for whom English is a second language, there’s an important lifeline: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
VITA offers individuals and families who aren’t always properly equipped to prepare and file their tax returns the assistance they need to navigate the complicated filing process and get their maximum refund and credit.
VITA in Greater Boston and Massachusetts
As a part of our mission to provide financial stability and economic opportunity for those in need, several VITA sites across Greater Boston — Quincy CAP, Connect, JVS-Boston, and Roxbury Center — are also United Way-funded Financial Opportunity Centers. These centers offer VITA services during tax season, but also provide additional services like financial coaching, budget building, credit repair and maintenance, and more. We also supported free tax services at Greater Lawrence Community Action.
Center staff provide training and certification to all VITA volunteers so they’re ready to assist clients who come in looking for tax assistance. They work with individuals and families and ensure they file properly, claim any credits they qualify for, and get their maximum refund.
In 2018 alone, United Way’s involvement in VITA helped people in need file almost 3,200 tax returns, almost 1,100 of which qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit that reduces overall taxes for low- to moderate-income individuals and families.
With the help of our Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) and our volunteers, Massachusetts returns generated more than $5.5 million in total refunds and credits, almost $2 million of which were part of the EITC. These savings then went back into the communities they came from, where they boosted local economies and helped to stabilize families by allowing them to meet critical budget needs, climb out of debt, or save for the future.
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