Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): Free Tax Preparation Services
In partnership with the IRS and local community coalitions, CAHS coordinates an annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Campaign across Fairfield, New Haven, New London, Middlesex, and Litchfield Counties.
A national program, VITA provides free tax preparation services to low-to-moderate-income individuals and families earning less than $54,000 a year. IRS-trained volunteers are certified to prepare simple tax returns, and screen customers for special tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit (Saver’s Credit), that can help them to make ends meet. Visiting a VITA site instead of a paid tax preparer saves each filer an average of $200. Taxes can be filed electronically, in which case refunds are received within 7-10 days.
Find a VITA Site Near You
VITA sites are located across the state of Connecticut, and are open from late January through mid-April. There is probably one in your neighborhood!
To find the VITA location most convenient for you, visit the 2-1-1 website. Appointments are preferred for most VITA sites; contact information and hours of operation for each site are available through 2-1-1 or the IRS website
What to bring with you to your VITA appointment:
- Valid photo ID
- Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for you, your spouse & any dependents living with you
- Birth dates for you, your spouse & dependents
- Documentation for all income from work, Social Security or pensions including forms W-2, 1099-R, etc.
- Documentation for any deductible education expenses & student loan payments from the previous tax year
- Interest & dividend statements from banks or other financial institutions, if any (Forms 1099)
- Total $ paid for child care in previous tax year. Bring day care provider’s address and tax ID number (the provider’s Social Security # or Employer Identification #)
- Copies of last year’s Federal & State income tax returns, if available
- Checking and/or savings account numbers if you want to have your refund direct deposited
- Healthy CT Access Form 1095-A
- Health insurance forms 1095-B or 1095-C
Volunteer with VITA!
VITA relies on dedicated volunteers to provide free tax services to thousands of Connecticut residents each year from mid-January through mid-April. Volunteers can choose to become trained Tax Preparers or to serve as Greeters or Intake Specialists and provide valuable information to customers at VITA sites. A financial background is helpful, but NOT necessary! Training is provided by the IRS to ensure that all volunteers are comfortable with the basics of tax preparation, and ongoing support is provided on-site during the tax season. The time commitment is flexible and can often work around your schedule.
There are many benefits to becoming a VITA volunteer:
- Receive free training by experienced and knowledgeable facilitators utilizing IRS materials to help you develop a lifelong skill and build your résumé
- Volunteer at a variety of locations, dates, and times convenient to your schedule
- Earn a Certificate of Recognition & Letter of Appreciation from the IRS at the end of the tax season;
- Gain personal satisfaction from providing an important service to your community.
VITA Volunteers are needed from mid-January through mid-April in Waterbury, Danbury, Bridgeport, Stratford, Torrington, Stamford, Norwalk, Winsted, New Haven, Hartford, Middlesex, and New London. To find out how you can promote family economic success as a Connecticut VITA volunteer in any of these areas contact Lucille Vaughan at (860) 951-2212, ext. 230 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The EITC is widely regarded as the single most effective poverty-reduction program for working families in the United States. Working families with incomes up to $54,000 (depending on household size) qualify for the federal EITC, which may provide a credit of up to $6,242. A combination of free tax preparation services at a VITA site and the potentially large return from the EITC can really help to boost a family’s tight budget. The EITC can also provide the opportunity for a family to begin saving for the future, paying down debt, or investing in assets such as a home, small business, or higher education.
To find out if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), visit the IRS website by clicking here.
The CAHS VITA Campaign is Funded By:
Citi Community Foundation of Greater New Haven
Connecticut Community Foundation
Katharine Matthies Foundation
Near and Far Aid Association
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County
United Way of Greater New Haven
United Way of Greater Waterbury
United Way of Western Connecticut
Wells Fargo Foundation