The tax deadline on April 18 is fast approaching. Luckily there is still time for taxpayers to have their federal, state, and local taxes prepared for free, and March is the time to do so. With 15 sites around Lancaster County, trained volunteers in United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program are available to prepare returns for individuals and families earning $62,000 or less.
As of March 14, VITA has prepared over 4,000 tax returns and assisted Lancaster County taxpayers recover refunds totaling over $5.1 million. In addition, VITA has saved each taxpayer an average of $200, with a total savings of over $800,000 in tax preparation fees.
“We strongly urge individuals and families to schedule a VITA appointment in March before the end of tax season rush,” said Ezra Rothman, United Way of Lancaster County VITA Coordinator. “At the end of every tax season we have to turn clients away because we are booked solid. With that being said, there is always a lull in mid-March when we could be serving all of the clients we have to turn away in April. We want everyone in Lancaster County who qualifies for free tax preparation to receive it.”
United Way’s VITA program volunteers offers taxpayers more than free tax preparation. They also help families determine whether they qualify for SNAP food assistance.
To schedule an appointment at one of VITA’s 15 tax preparation sites around Lancaster County or get more information, taxpayers should call 2-1-1 to speak with one of United Way's trained information and referral specialists. For VITA locations, eligibility requirements, and other details, visit www.FreeTaxPrepLancaster.org.
VITA also offers a free online program that allows taxpayers to file federal and state tax returns at www.MyFreeTaxes.com.
United Way of Lancaster County’s VITA program is one of many sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to IRS funding, VITA receives vital support from BB&T Bank, Ephrata National Bank, Fulton Bank, PNC Bank, and United Way of Lancaster County’s Women’s Leadership Council.
About United Way of Lancaster County For over 90 years United Way of Lancaster County has helped make change happen across Lancaster County by providing opportunities for community members to give, advocate, and volunteer. United Way’s Community Impact Fund focuses donor investments that address the underlying causes of the County’s most serious problems and work to achieve four bold goals. By 2025, United Way is marshaling resources so that (1) Every child will enter kindergarten ready to learn, (2) All adults will have the necessary post-secondary credentials they need to get a good job, (3) We have decreased poverty by 50%, and (4) Everyone has access to a doctor, dentist, and mental health professional. In addition to offering a 2-1-1 information and referral help line, a volunteer center, and free tax preparation services for low income workers, United Way fosters collaborations between nonprofit organizations, healthcare providers, schools, faith-based groups, businesses, and government. United Way and its supporters create lasting change in Lancaster County, achieving results that no single organization or sector could accomplish alone.
March 16, 2016