Ms. Randall is a resident of Richmond who has been visiting United Way’s tax assistance sites for the last seven years. Although Ms. Randall navigates the tax filing process every year, she and other people living with a disability must overcome certain obstacles those without disabilities do not encounter. Filing taxes is already stressful for many, but the added difficulties of financial strain, transportation challenges, language barriers or inaccessible processes can make it especially complicated for some.
“Me not driving anymore and depending on public transportation, you don’t always get the service that you deserve. There are a lot of language barriers and people don’t know what they’re doing, and people think because I’m blind, I don’t know where I’m going. I know exactly where I am going.”
Ms. Randall explained that the United Way volunteers accommodated her even if her transportation issues caused her to be as much as 30 minutes late.
When Ms. Randall moved from Georgia to Virginia, she had to start from scratch with finding tax assistance. Luckily, when searching the internet and making phone calls to find help, it didn’t take long for her to find United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA offers both in-person and virtual tax prep assistance, but Ms. Randall always opts for in-person assistance because, as she says, she’s “a people person.”
“They had people that were there to assist me – fill out any documents I needed to fill out, all I had to do was sign them. That meant a lot to me because it felt like I was being accommodated. A lot of times I will be stereotyped against, and people ignore me. I never got that from United Way.”
United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax preparation for families and individuals with income of $60,000 or less.
United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax preparation for families and individuals with income of $60,000 or less. A team of IRS-certified volunteers works with filers to prepare accurate tax returns and deliver the highest possible refund. This program helps our community get the most out of their refund by avoiding unclaimed tax credits and saving money on tax preparation services.
“The volunteers were very accommodating. They were very knowledgeable in what they were doing. It was a wonderful experience. It was very organized and that was one thing that I liked about it.”
Ms. Randall has been to many locations over the years, including tax sites in Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield. Ms. Randall had one of the 2,256 tax returns that our VITA program helped file in 2022, and she’s already been back to file her taxes with United Way this season. Ms. Randall shares that she always recommends VITA to her friends and family, saying:
“It’s like a family because everybody has always been good to me. And that means a lot because you keep coming back when you get good service.”