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United Way VITA Program Wraps Up After Helping to File Over a Thousand Tax Returns

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Image courtesy United Way
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The 2022 VITA program concluded on April 17th after a total of 1,360 returns were filed on behalf of families and individuals each of whom will receive a refund of $1,867, on average.

Vero Beach - Tuesday May 17, 2022: Indian River County United Way volunteers once again this year helped file over a thousand tax returns for families and individuals with low to moderate incomes.

Twenty-eight IRS-trained and certified volunteers helped prepare returns under the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program known as VITA. The program offers free tax preparation services to qualified individuals and families every year from January through Tax Day.

VITA is a partnership between United Way and the IRS. The program ensures that taxpayers get all the credits they're eligible for. The 2022 VITA program concluded on April 17th after a total of 1,360 returns were filed on behalf of families and individuals who had an average adjusted gross income of just $23,000 per household. The average refund for each will be $1,867.

“We served more people this year than ever before, especially at a time when we know many households in our community faced financial hardships due to Covid-19,” explained Meredith Egan, CEO, United Way of Indian River County. “It’s a milestone we’re really proud of and look forward to making that number grow each year.”

Indian River County residents who took part in the VITA program this year will receive $516,897 in Earned Income Tax Credits, $27,768 in Child Tax Credits, and $6,547 in Education Tax Credits. In all the individuals and households that received assistance from the VITA program will receive a total of $1,733,145 million in returns.

The VITA program helps residents obtain money they are eligible for, extra funds that can help a household survive. There is no cost to clients. The program saves households an average of $175 on tax preparation fees. That cost can instead be used to buy groceries, pay bills, or set aside for an emergency savings fund. This year, the total paid preparer cost savings averaged $238,000 for VITA clients in Indian River County.

“We absolutely could not do this without our fleet of dedicated volunteers,” said Stacy Benezra, Community Impact Coordinator, United Way of Indian River County. “With over 2,124 hours logged, they give it their all for our community. We can never thank them enough.”

This program would not be possible without the local sponsors helping cover the costs of offering this service; Jacoby and Handley, PLLC and Kmetz, Elwell, Graham, and Associates PLLC. United Way also congratulates VITA volunteers Ben Tartaglia and David Geiser for receiving a 10-Year Milestone Award from the IRS.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a VITA volunteer or sponsor, contact Stacy Benezra, Community Impact Coordinator at (772) 567-8900, ext. 120, or Stacy.Benezra@UnitedWayIRC.org.

United Way of Indian River County (UWIRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every community member. United Way works with local programs to provide resources to individuals and families in crisis today, while working year-round to improve community conditions and create lasting solutions.