Tax season is approaching. Individuals and families earning $50,000 or less may qualify to have their tax returns prepared for free. This year over 150 local volunteers have been enlisted and trained to prepare tax returns at 15 locations across Lancaster County.
United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a national program sponsored by the IRS. For the ninth year trained volunteers in United Way of Lancaster County’s VITA program are available to prepare federal, state, and local tax returns saving taxpayers, on average, $200 in tax preparation fees. 
Last year VITA volunteers provided free tax help to 4,850 Lancaster County residents. Those tax returns resulted in over $5.6 million in refunds and saved taxpayers almost $1 million in fees that would otherwise be paid for tax services. This year it is projected that over 5,400 free tax returns will be prepared by volunteers through VITA.
“Our volunteers not only give of their time because they enjoy preparing taxes, but they enjoy the personal interaction and the opportunity to provide friendly, high quality service,” said Ezra Rothman, VITA Coordinator. “It’s truly a community effort.”
“The VITA program is valuable here in Lancaster because it keeps more money in the pockets of hardworking individuals and families, especially in a time when we are seeing tax preparation costs rise,” noted Steve O’Neil, United Way’s VITA Advisor.
To schedule a VITA appointment, or get more information, call 2-1-1 to speak with one of United Way's trained information and referral specialists.
Times, locations, eligibility requirements and other details can also be found at www.FreeTaxPrepLancaster.org 
For 90 years United Way of Lancaster County has been helping contributors make change happen in their community. By focusing its Impact Fund investments on the underlying causes of the County’s most serious problems, United Way maximizes investors’ gifts to accomplish four bold goals by 2025: (1) 100% of Lancaster County children will enter kindergarten ready to learn, (2) 100% of students and adults will have post-secondary credentials, (3) 50% more individuals and families will have moved out of poverty, and (4) 100% of individuals, children, and families will have a medical home. Fostering collaborations between nonprofit organizations, businesses, faith-based groups, volunteers, and government, United Way and its supporters create lasting change in Lancaster County, achieving results that no single sector could accomplish alone.
January 22, 2015