United Way Now Offering Free Virtual Tax Preparation Service

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Richmond, Va. (May 19, 2020) – With the federal tax-filing deadline extended to July 15, and Virginians receiving an extension for state returns, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is offering free virtual tax preparation services to households with incomes below $66,000.

Traditionally, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is held at 16 tax sites across the region, but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has shifted its focus to assisting taxpayers virtually until the tax sites can safely be reopened.

United Way partnered with Code for America to bring GetYourRefund to the region, allowing its local team of IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers to virtually assist taxpayers with completing and electronically filing both federal and state returns. To utilize the program, participants need just a smart phone with a camera or a computer with access to a scanner.

The program also encourages people to think about ways to save, implement financial best practices and make plans for achieving financial independence. And for those with low to moderate income, the service helps eligible taxpayers take advantage of potential tax savings through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

“For many around the region, the last few months have been difficult to navigate, but we’re pleased to be able to ease some of the anxiety and stress that those who haven’t filed yet might be feeling,” said James Taylor, president & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We knew a shift to virtual preparation was important because this service has made a tangible difference for local families over the past 10 years, particularly for those who have taken advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

In 2019, local United Way volunteers helped secure more than $3 million in tax refunds for 3,667 households in our area. Families who took advantage of the service received a total of $838,300 in EITC funds from the IRS. The average household income for customers was $22,900.

Find more information at https://www.yourunitedway.org/tax/.

Online Tax Prep Also Available

United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com service provides another convenient tax preparation method for households of any income level with simple (no schedule A, C, D, or E) federal and state tax returns. The program is a free, safe and easy way for individuals and families to file taxes online.

MyFreeTaxes.com manages both federal and state returns and is powered by H&R Block. Tax returns with schedule A, C, D, or E can be prepared for a small fee.

About United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg empowers individuals and addresses systemic problems to provide everyone with a clear path to success. We do this by conducting research, funding programs and organizations, driving systems-level change and engaging with individuals in 11 localities across the region. Learn more at YourUnitedWay.org.