Volunteer Income Tax Assitance (VITA)
The 2016 tax season marked the 10th Anniversary of the United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that provides free local, state and federal income tax preparation for low to moderate income wage earners. In the past decade, we’ve worked with the University of Scranton to mobilize the VITA program and reach numerous communities across Northeastern Pennsylvania. In recognition of our VITA program’s growth and expansion, we were once again awarded an IRS grant to support our work. Last year, our VITA program prepared taxes at eight mobile sites in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, and opened a VITA satellite office in the United Way’s conference room. Our VITA volunteers also traveled to New Milford at the request of the United Way of Susquehanna County to assist tax clients in their community and offered our tax preparation services on-site to patients at Clarks Summit State Hospital. This year marked the first time the VITA program utilized a team of interns–a dedicated group of bright and talented students from Lackawanna College who balanced a full course-load with full-time work and each VITA session during the 2016 tax season.
During the 2016 tax season, the VITA program saved our tax clients $357,750 in fees as we filed 2,385 tax returns for free with $872,165 in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and $2,759,100 in federal refunds being returned to the community—and the budgets of hard-working area families.
My Free Taxes
To augment our VITA program, the United Way received a grant from United Way Worldwide to expand our promotion and usage of My Free Taxes. Powered by H&R Block, this website is available to those with household income of $64,000 or less who are comfortable filing their taxes themselves online. Nearly 130 tax returns were completed through My Free Taxes with an average EITC of $2,268 and an average federal refund of $2,100.
Learn more about how our Free Tax Help programs can help you!