VITA

We Fight for Financial Stability

Each year, United Way of East Central Iowa organizes and implements VITA with community partners to improve the process of completing Federal and State tax services and returns for local families and individuals. United Way also recruits and trains volunteers for VITA locations in Linn and Jones Counties.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a national IRS sponsored program that helps you receive your maximum federal and state tax refunds. If your household income is less than $54,000, you may qualify for VITA’s services.

The average tax preparation fee is $176. Those who can’t afford this fee either do their own taxes (often missing important tax credits) or do not file their taxes at all. Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteers complete and file your tax return for free!

VITA Results: Tax Year 2018

Total Tax Returns Completed and Filed: 2,239
Total Federal Tax Refunds: $3,254,228
Total State Tax Refunds: $559,320
Overall Total Tax Refunds: $3,813,548
Earned Income Tax Credit:

(Includes total federal refund)

$1,155,731

 

Total Tax Returns Completed and Filed: 170
Total Federal Tax Refunds: $190,762
Total State Tax Refunds: $39,768
Overall Total Tax Refunds: $230,530
Earned Income Tax Credit:

(Includes total federal refund)

$60,571

 

VITA Success Stories

After using VITA, a single mother said, “I can move my children into our own home.”

Her federal refund totaled more than $11,000. Child tax credit, earned income credit, and education credit all contributed to her total return.

The VITA volunteer asked the young mother what she planned to do with her refund. Through tears of joy, she said, “We have been living in a shelter, and I was going to stay there until I was done with school. But now, I can make a home for them.”

One local man used VITA’s services and found out his tax return was more than he could have imagined.

When VITA finished his taxes, he didn’t understand why the refund was more than in the past. The volunteer tax preparer explained the credits he received and recommended he bring in his past returns so they could take a look.

Since the man was raising his grandson on his own, the volunteer noticed the incorrect filing status on past returns: no child tax credit, earned income credit, or education credits since his grandson started college. Using VITA, the grandfather claimed an additional $4,000 refund.