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United Way launches free annual tax preparation service

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg has launched itsVolunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that helps families work toward financial stability by providing free tax assistance through in-person tax sites as well as a new virtual tax assistance service.

Trevor Dickerson

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United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg has launched itsVolunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that helps families work toward financial stability by providing free tax assistance through in-person tax sites as well as a new virtual tax assistance service.

United Way’s team of IRS-certified tax preparers and volunteers will prepare income tax returns for qualifying families and individuals with incomes of $60,000 or less at 12 tax prep sites located throughout the city of Richmond and in the counties of Goochland, Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover.

“Our VITA program has been supporting the community since 2002 and could not exist without our dedicated volunteers,” said Cara Cardotti, United Way’s Director of Tax Assistance Programs. “Each volunteer successfully navigates required IRS certification tests annually to work with the program.”

The VITA program offers multiple ways for customers to receive tax assistance. Options include scheduling an appointment, dropping off tax documents with a tax preparer, or visiting one of the first come, first serve tax locations. Virginia residents can also complete taxes online through United Way’s online tax assistance site, GetYourRefund.org/uwgrp.

Hours of operation for each tax site are subject to change and can be found on United Way’s website.

The Sacred Heart location in Richmond will offer assistance for customers who speak Spanish and Portuguese.

“While our program offers free tax preparation for people with incomes up to $60,000, the reality is that most community members served by the program earn far less per year, on average $25,380,” said Angela Otto, United Way’s Interim President and CEO. “Our volunteers not only provide free tax preparation services but also help many individuals and families claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which helps to bring even more dollars into the households who need it most.”

In 2022, VITA volunteers helped file 2,256 tax returns, recover $2.9 million in tax returns, claim $847,963 in earned income tax credit refunds and save $556,000 in tax preparation fees.

A Do-It-Yourself option is also available for individuals who make up to $73,000 with free coaching from an IRS-certified volunteer to help customers successfully file tax returns. For more information on the service, individuals can contact [email protected].

To learn more about the program and tax sites, visit United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance website.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.