Volunteering with VITA

 

 

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What is VITA?

VITA is a catchy acronym for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, an IRS program implemented in our community by United Way of Denton County. Through this program, elite volunteers no different from you help local households earning up to $58,000 file their federal income tax returns accurately, on time, and in as beneficial a manner as possible.

Our volunteers hail from all walks of life, from the accounting student at a local university debating between Tax and Audit tracks, to the retiree looking for a way to keep their mind sharp and their days busy, to the taxpayer benefitting from VITA who wants to give right back to the community in which they live.

 

What has the VITA Program done?

 

In 2018,

  • United Way of Denton County volunteers prepared 1,460 returns for Denton County taxpayers. Another 138 taxpayers filed using MyFreeTaxes bringing our total returns filed to 1,598 returns!
  • Each return can represent a whole family and on average each return claimed 1.6 exemptions, thus we estimate that we helped 2,599 people through our services.
  • Through VITA and MyFreeTaxes, we returned $2,153,639 in refunds to Denton County taxpayers while saving them an estimated $433,058 in filing fees.
  • 40 Volunteer Tax Preparers spent 1,867 hours preparing taxes for Denton County taxpayers
  • Another 59 volunteers contributed 560 hours as Intake Volunteers and Volunteer Translators, helping taxpayers from start to finish at our sites

For two years in a row, volunteers have put over $2 million back into the pockets of our community - a fantastic accomplishment, but we must do even more! The IRS estimates that well over $15 million in unclaimed refunds are left on the table by Denton County taxpayers every year. We need your help to bring that money back to the pockets of households who need it the most!

How can you help? Three roles for our volunteers:

Tax Preparer:

After 16-hours of very accessible, yet thorough training, Volunteer Tax Preparers complete an IRS certification test and work directly with households who earn up to $58,000 to file their tax returns. At the end of the day, your hard work will be more than paid off in both the economic impact you have on local families and the joy of taxpayers getting the refund they are due without having to pay out the nose.

Intake Volunteer:

As the first person a taxpayer encounters, you help ease taxpayers through the process of completing their return and are the first line in catching barriers to a finished tax return. Through your hard work, we can save the time of taxpayers and tax preparers alike by ensuring that every taxpayer has all the documents and answers they need to finish their tax return quickly and free of stress.

Translator:

A taxpayer can't provide the information we need to prepare their return if a language barrier gets in the way. Bilingual translators can engage taxpayers during any and all steps of the process to help our tax preparers provide people with accurate returns, the maximum legal refund, and the high-quality service taxpayers have come to expect from VITA in Denton County.

 

Helpful Links:

Websites:

IRS website
IRS Information about Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions
Link and Learn Certification System

IRS Online, Self-paced Curriculum
TaxSlayer Online Practice Lab

IRS Publications:

Pub. 17 - Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
Pub. 502 - Medical and Dental Expenses
Pub. 970 - Tax Benefits for Education
Pub. 4012 - Volunteer Resource Guide
Pub. 4491 - Volunteer Training Guide
Pub. 4491w - Practice Problems and Exercises
Pub. 4961 - Volunteer Standards of Conduct Ethics Training
Pub. 5101 - Intake / Interview and Quality Review Training
Pub. 6744 - Volunteer Test / Re-Test
Form 8962 Instructions - Premium Tax Credit

 

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