Happy VITA Awareness Day
The Impact of VITA in Tennessee
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is celebrating its 50th anniversary! For 50 years, VITA programs have provided free tax preparation services to millions of taxpayers—including low and moderate-income households, the elderly, people with disabilities, and people with limited English proficiency.
For over 10 years, United Way of Williamson County’s VITA program has maximized residents’ refunds through tax credits and no cost tax prep and filing.
We train our volunteers using an IRS-approved curriculum and certification test, and our 7 VITA sites adhere to IRS standards and Quality Site Requirements. Nationally, this results in tax returns with a 93% accuracy rate.
In 2018, our VITA volunteers filed 1,472 tax returns (including 284 EITC-eligible taxpayers), returning a total of $1,163,370 to local households.
How does Tennessee benefit from VITA?
According to the National Society of Accountants, Americans pay an average of $176 to $273 on prep and filing fees. For low and moderate-income families, the savings alone on tax fees can put essentials— like groceries, a medical or utility bill, or a contribution to an emergency savings account— within reach.
Across the country, there are 3,700 VITA sites where eligible taxpayers can have their taxes prepared at no cost. Across Tennessee, there are 55 sites ready to help taxpayers claim federal and state credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This year, we opened two additional VITA sites by expanding to Maury and Hickman Counties.
VITA programs are a powerful vehicle for delivering high-quality tax prep and access to effective, community-based United Way partner programs that provide individual attention and ongoing support along a client’s path to financial stability.
Support VITA in Tennessee!
We appreciate our corporate, municipal, and community VITA partners, including the Internal Revenue Service, Fifth Third Bank, Franklin Synergy Bank, City of Fairview, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Republic Bank, Wells Fargo, GraceWorks Ministries, Williamson County Public Library, FiftyForward, Maury County Senior Center, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Hickman County Public Library, and Spring Hill Public Library.
Federal, state, and local policymakers can help low-income tax files, many of whom are eligible for EITC and other critical tax credits, by supporting VITA programs that not only provide tax prep, but also connect people with financial stability services and other community resources at no cost. Increased VITA funding would also enable VITA programs, as a whole, to market to a wider audience, increasing public awareness of VITA services to potential clients and volunteers.
Stand with us to show #VITAWorks by supporting a crucial program that helps Tennesseans build and secure better futures.
As we celebrate VITA Awareness Day on March 13, consider offering up your time and talent in your community. You can get free VITA training to fill important roles. Learn more about becoming a VITA volunteer.
Article/data sourced from IRS data from VITA/TCE programs using IRS-provided software