08 Dec Become a VITA Free Tax Preparation Volunteer
Give Back to Your Community by Becoming a VITA Free Tax Preparation Volunteer
United Way of the Lowcountry (UWLC) is looking for volunteers who are interested in helping Lowcountry residents – who need extra support and guidance – file their tax returns for free.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program – a collaboration between the IRS, Beaufort County Human Services Alliance and United Way of the Lowcountry – supports individuals and families with low-to-moderate incomes, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speakers with free tax preparation.
“VITA is an excellent opportunity to help hardworking folks in the Lowcountry receive the federal and state tax benefits they are entitled to receive,” said UWLC Volunteer/VITA Program Coordinator Sherry Halphen. “We need more volunteers stationed at sites throughout Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties, so we can connect even more taxpayers with these critical VITA services. This program is a great example of neighbors helping neighbors and giving back to our community.”
VITA volunteers are community members trained to help their neighbors file their taxes for free and claim every tax credit available to them. Their service supports workers in caring for their families, withstanding unexpected economic challenges and bolstering their overall financial well-being.
Last tax season, a team of 49 volunteers saved 1,797 Lowcountry residents more than $450,000 in tax preparations fees alone and placed more than $2.6 million in refunds back into residents’ pockets.
“This year, there are more opportunities than ever to volunteer with VITA,” said Halphen. “No tax experience is needed, the training for IRS certification is free, and the hours are flexible.”
Non-tax certified volunteers can serve as greeters and screeners; interpreters; and computer specialists/troubleshooters. Tax certified volunteers are needed as site coordinators; tax preparers; and quality reviewers. There is also a special need for bilingual Spanish speakers for all positions.
Because no tax experience is required, volunteers assisting with the VITA Program come from all walks of life: working professionals, retirees, college and high school students and people who just want to contribute to their community.
“It’s really been a wonderful experience,” says Jim H., a volunteer tax preparer from Sun City. “At the end of the day, I get to go home knowing I was able to help some of my friends and neighbors in our community.”
Free training is offered both online and in the classroom. Tax sites are open the first week in February through mid-April during weekdays, weeknights and Saturdays. Hours are flexible, allowing volunteers to choose time slots that fit their schedules.
To learn more about volunteering for the VITA Program in 2023, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843.379.3064.
About United Way of the Lowcountry
Since the 1950s, United Way of the Lowcountry has been working to create a better life for the residents of Beaufort and Jasper counties. Our focus is on protecting services vital to the immediate basic needs of the most vulnerable members of our community; while making long term investments in education, economic mobility and health, because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We bring together people and organizations from all across the Lowcountry who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. Each year, United Way raises funds through our annual campaign, special events and grants. Just as funds are raised locally, United Way funds stay local. Learn how you can be a part of United Way at www.uwlowcountry.org.