Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

Overview

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and MyFreeTaxes.com

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is national and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), California EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. 

Locally, United Way California Capital Region and our partners offer myfreetaxes.com to help local residents save money during tax season.

Interested in becoming a VITA volunteer? Learn more

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Become a 2017 VITA Volunteer
Provide free tax assistance in the community

Learn to prepare taxes and make a difference at the same time. How can you make a difference? Simple. Help your community in preparing taxes free of charge by becoming a volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) helps bring back millions of dollars to working families in our community by providing free tax assistance for low and moderate income households. Last year, the Coalition for Working Families helped keep more than $4 million in the pockets of residents by coordinating the VITA program. This success is only possible through a dedicated volunteer base.

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Get your taxes done for FREE 2016-2017
In-person or online options available

Save your hard-earned dollars and see if you qualify for valuable state and federal tax credits by using one of two FREE services this tax season:

  1. Online at MyFreeTaxes.com (if your household income was $64K or less in 2016). The website sponsored by United Way and powered by H&R Block software saves users an average of $200 in tax preparation fees. All you need is a valid email address and your income forms such as a W2, 1099, 1098, etc.
  2. In person at a Sacramento area tax preparation site (if your household income was $54K or less in 2016). The link to schedule appts. will be available mid-January or you will call 2-1-1 (916-498-1000). Appointments take place from Jan. 28 through Mar. 31 unless otherwise noted. See tax preparation site locations and dates listed below or download the list here

*Call 2-1-1 or (916) 498-1000 or visit this page after January 16, 2017 to schedule your appointment. 

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The IRS must hold refunds for tax returns claiming EITC or ACTC until February 15

Beginning in 2017, if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on your tax return, the IRS must hold your refund until February 15. This new law, approved by Congress, requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC.

This change helps ensure that you receive the refund you are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

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Super Saturday FREE Tax Events 2016-2017
Can't file your taxes on a weekday? Get free tax filing assistance on a Saturday

Get FREE in-person tax filing assistance at VITA Super Saturday events. At the events you’ll have an opportunity to meet with a certified tax professional who can help determine if you qualify for special tax credits. 

Upcoming Super Saturday (and Sunday) Events

  • Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and Apr. 1, Grant Union High School (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Apr. 8, Apr. 9 and Apr. 15 Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Feb. 4, Placer County Dept of Health & Human Services (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Feb. 4 and Mar. 4, Mar. 25, Hiram Johnson High School (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Feb. 11 , California State University Sacramento (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) 
  • Feb. 4 – Mar. 25, Deptartment of Human Assistance (DHA-Fulton) ​(9a.m. – 1 p.m.)
  • Feb. 25, Deptartment of Human Assistance (DHA-Fulton) 
    (9a.m. – 3 p.m.) – Russian 
  • Mar. 11, La Familia Maple Neighborhood Center
    ​(9a.m. – 3 p.m.) – Spanish
  • Feb. 11 and Mar. 11, SEIU Local 1000 
Sponsors

Thank you to our VITA sponsors and partners

A big thank you to the companies and organizations that make our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) work possible. Their financial contributions are helping local residents save money for the things that matter most and receive credits like the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits.

Internal Revenue Service*

We also are grateful to the following organizations that provide crucial support for local VITA work.















Thanks also to our many community volunteers who complete IRS VITA certification and work at our sites to provide free tax help in various languages.

VITA is a national program of the IRS and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns. United Way California Capital Region leads the local effort for Sacramento County.

*The IRS awarded a grant to United Way California Capital Region to support its VITA work.

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About Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is national and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.

Locally, United Way California Capital Region and our partners offer myfreetaxes.comto help local residents save money during tax season. 

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Sacramento region claims more than $5 million during the 2016 tax season through free tax assistance programs

Nearly 5,000 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way-led free tax programs for the 2015 tax year, resulting in more than $5 million in money claimed and saved through the Earned Income Tax Credit, other credits and refunds, and lack of tax preparation fees. The in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, led by United Way California Capital Region in this area, helped 3,710 local households, and United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com helped 983 users file taxes with an average refund of $1,433.

United Way Hero Written by: Amy Williamson, Financial Stability Program Officer

Spotlight on VITA Coordinator, Diana Clay

Last year at about this time, I was thrilled that our United Way decided to take on the leadership role for Sacramento’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) coalition at the request of Community Link, which ran it for its first decade.

VITA is an amazing program that saves thousands of local low-income families lots of money by offering free filing by IRS-certified volunteers, and also helps them claim (collectively) millions of dollars through the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits. Households who file through VITA get average refunds of more than $2,000, and some get as much as $6,000. My job is to help people build financial stability, and that money goes a long way toward that end.

Sounds great, right? And it is. But while I was thrilled, I was also a bit daunted to say the least. VITA is a very complex endeavor and I knew we needed to bring in the right expertise. While I was immediately thinking about the fundraising I’d need to do, I got an invitation to last year’s tax season wrap-up and debrief at our local IRS office. It was there that Diana Clay introduced herself to me.