VITA: Free Tax Preparation
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, is a FREE program offered by United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Through this program, our certified volunteers and tax preparers provide FREE tax preparation and filing services to individuals and households who meet the following criteria:
- Individual tax filer’s income (or household if filing jointly) below $67,500.
- Have ALL tax documents
- Have ID and Social Security cards (for both husband and wife if filing jointly)
- We will not do self-employment with expenses. We will do 1099 NEC without expenses.
- Have zero rental properties or rental property income.
VITA Tax Prep is available to anyone regardless of age or need of assistance and all VITA Volunteers are local residents who receive tax preparation training by United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties and are then certified by the Internal Revenue Service.
Want to Become a VITA Volunteer?
If you would like to learn a new skill, help others, and make a difference in the community by becoming a Certified Tax Preparer for the VITA program, please call Tracey Schoonmaker at 352-787-7530 or email him at MissionUnited@uwls.org. Volunteers earn a tax-preparer certification that can be used to enhance their resume, but also earn experience, confidence, and other valuable skills. These learned skills can help volunteers not only provide a hand up to fellow community members, but also to advance in their careers while making a difference.
Want to File Your Taxes through VITA?
Due to COVID restrictions and the desire to ensure safety for our clients and our preparers, our 2021 VITA program will be run out of the United Way of Lake and Sumter office, instead of at satellite Goodwill locations. If you are ready to file your taxes, please note the following process:
- For the safety of all, all taxes are completed by appointment ONLY.
- For ease of contact, filers must have a cellular phone and provide that number.
- Our office is a non-contact site and is reserved primarily for document drop off.
- For document drop off and appointments, hours of operation are from 9 am to 2 pm.
- The VITA program runs from February 15 to May 12.
To Make an Appointment to File Your Taxes:
- Please call 352-787-7530 x248 STARTING February 15th, 2021
- Or you may email VITA@UWLS.org to request an appointment
- For the security of all information, all emails to VITA@UWLS.org are encrypted.
Once documents are dropped off to our office, our Tax Preparers will work on your information and return. In many cases, you may wait in your car for this processing time and a preparer will call you on your cell phone, while you wait in our parking lot to create a contact free environment.
What Documents Do I Need to Provide?
All VITA program participants will need to complete and/or provide the following:
- The IRS Intake Form (complete at link below and print or scan and email).
- 2019 Tax Return (for those who did not file with VITA in 2019)
Every year, struggling families have the stressful task of finding additional funds to have their taxes prepared and file the required tax return. Tax preparation can cost $200 on average and for families who live paycheck to paycheck, this could be the difference between paying the rent on time or purchasing groceries. Thanks to organizations like the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, that provide VITA programs in our community, families do not need to make those kinds of tough choices. VITA is one of the many ways that we provide support and services in the area of income assistance.
Need More Information or Have Questions?
Taxpayers who have questions about United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties VITA Program may call 352-787-7530 ext. 248 or email VITA@UWLS.org. Emails sent to this address are encrypted and please note that preparers are also working off-site and may not be readily available to immediately answer your call. Thank you for your patience. To make a tax preparation appointment, please dial 2-1-1 and an operator will assist you.
Want to File Your Taxes Directly with the IRS?
Visit www.myfreetaxes.com for additional options!