United Way, IRS, and community organizations partner for Indy Free Tax Prep
by Fatma Yousif, community impact manager for United Way
Since 2015, United Way of Central Indiana has partnered with volunteers, community organizations, and groups across Marion, Boone, Hendricks and Morgan counties to administer the IRS grant that supports the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program — known locally as Indy Free Tax Prep.
Indy Free Tax Prep allows qualified individuals and families to file a complete and thorough tax return for free. Last year, 138 IRS-certified volunteers prepared nearly 4,400 tax returns for central Indiana residents resulting in $6 million in refunds.
The program’s success is due to the hundreds of volunteers who want to contribute to their community in a meaningful way. It’s all about making tax season less taxing for our neighbors.
As one volunteer recently commented, “I really love volunteering for Indy Free Tax Prep because you are learning and helping the community at the same time. It’s the best feeling.”
This year, our goal is to have 250 volunteers prepare more than 6,500 returns.
All Indy Free Tax Prep volunteers who prepare returns must pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards to be certified. This training includes maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information. In addition to requiring volunteers to certify their knowledge of the tax laws, the IRS requires a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA site prior to filing. They also assist taxpayers with the preparation of thousands of Facilitated Self-Assistance returns.
Indy Free Tax Prep sites and volunteers offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including:
- people who generally make $66,000 or less,
- those with disabilities, and
- taxpayers who speak limited English.
United Way and its partners are proud to offer Indy Free Tax Prep. It truly serves the community by assisting families in keeping more of their hard-earned money. If you are interested in learning more or volunteering, you can email me at Fatma.email@example.com.