VITA seeks volunteers for tax assistance

3 mins read

More than $4.5 million dollars in income tax refunds went back to Lowcountry residents last year thanks to the Lowcountry Area VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Coalition, the group says, and they’re looking for more volunteers to help local taxpayers file their tax returns for free
this year.

In 2017, VITA and TCE volunteers in the Lowcountry prepared close to 2,200 federal tax returns for qualified taxpayers for free, resulting in more than $4.5 million dollars in tax refunds being returned to the local economy.

The IRS and its community partners are looking for people around the country to become IRS-certified volunteers at their free tax preparation sites. Volunteers can start now to join the Lowcountry Area VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Coalition, which serves the seven counties of Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton, Allendale, Barnwell and Bamberg.

VITA offers free tax return preparation to eligible taxpayers who generally earn $55,000 or less, and TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) is mainly for people age 60 or older. The Lowcountry Area VITA Coalition also serves those that are differently-abled, as well as those whose first language is not English. The need for volunteers in the Lowcountry is tremendous, and volunteers will be trained and certified by the IRS.

Many volunteers return to the program year after year. Here are several reasons why:

  • Volunteers can work flexible hours. Volunteers can generally choose their own hours and days to volunteer. The programs are usually open from mid-to-late-January through the tax filing deadline in April. Some sites are even open all year.
  • VITA and TCE sites are often close to home. With sites in Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Hardeeville, and Ridgeland, volunteers are needed right in your own backyard. Free tax help sites are in the local libraries and community centers. 
  • No prior experience needed. Volunteers receive specialized training to become IRS-certified and can choose from a variety of roles to serve. VITA and TCE programs want volunteers of all backgrounds and ages, as well as individuals who are fluent in other languages.
  • The IRS provides free tax law training and materials. Volunteers receive training materials at no charge. The tax law training covers how to prepare basic federal tax returns electronically. The training also covers tax topics like deductions and credits.
  • Tax pros can earn continuing education credits. Enrolled agents and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn continuing education credits when volunteering as a VITA/TCE instructor, quality reviewer or tax return preparer.

For more information, contact Theresa Jackson, Lowcountry VITA Program Director, at lowcountryvitacoalition@gmail.com or by calling 843-321-9071.

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