Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

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Updated June 15, 2020

IRS Deadline to File and Pay Taxes

Haven’t done your taxes yet? Free options are available to most taxpayers. If you don’t have computer access from home, try using IRS Free File from your smart phone. To get started on filing your tax return, click here: www.irs.gov/freefile


Updated April 15, 2020

Economic Impact Payments

Filers: Get Your Payment

Use the "Get My Payment" application to:

  • Check your payment status
  • Confirm your payment type: direct deposit or check
  • Enter your bank account information for direct deposit if we don't have your direct deposit information and we haven't sent your payment yet

Get My Payment

Updated April 10, 2020

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.

The non-filer tool provides a free and easy option designed for people who don’t have a return filing obligation, including those with too little income to file. The feature is available only on IRS.gov, and users should look for Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here to take them directly to the tool. Click here to go directly to the form.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that Economic Impact Payments will be distributed automatically to most people starting next week. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. Automatic payments will also go in the near future to those receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits.

Updated April 9, 2020

We regret to inform you that we have suspended all of our VITA free tax preparation appointments until further notice.  With the uncertainty of the COVID -19 VIRUS we are constantly updating and taking precautions for the safety of our community and volunteers. 


  1. We encourage you to do your taxes for free online at myfreetaxes.com or the IRS-certified free file site.
  2. The tax filing deadline has been delayed until July 15, 2020, although the IRS is encouraging anyone anticipating a refund to file now. 
  3. If you owe money on your taxes, payments are being deferred until July 15, 2020 as well.  For more information, please visit irs.gov/coronavirus.
  4. Economic Impact Payments - The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payments to those eligible. Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments

Powerhouse of Mobilizers

Volunteers serve families at the Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte County. Click here to read more


Thank you to our VITA Sponsors, Centennial Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Publix Super Market Charities and Gulf Coast Community Foundation!

This will be one of the most rewarding volunteer efforts you have ever experienced…we hear it every year from our volunteers! Over 85% of our volunteers have had no prior experience in tax prep. The positive experience of the VITA volunteers is a top priority of our team. Please contact our office if you would like to volunteer (941) 627-3539.

The 2020 United Way of Charlotte County Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is proudly sponsored by Centennial Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Publix and Gulf Coast Community Partnership.


Serving others in our community.

Volunteering for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is a fun and easy way to help others in our community. United Way of Charlotte County has a great volunteer opportunity for you! You can help our neighbors become financially stable with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. You don’t need to be a numbers-person to help, either! Join us to learn about the program, its impacts and process, and to meet other terrific volunteers.

What is VITA all about?

It’s not accounting, …simply service.  The software (a partnership between Tax-Slayer and the IRS) does all of the heavy lifting. This will be one of the most rewarding volunteer efforts you have ever experienced…we hear it every year from our volunteers! Over 85% of our volunteers have had no prior experience in tax prep The experience of the VITA volunteers is a top priority of our team. We promise the experience will be a great one!


2018-2019 VITA Volunteers

Thursday, May 9, 2019

VITA: "Powered by Grace"

Once again, the United Way of Charlotte County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provided residents the opportunity to get their taxes done for free and set records doing it.   In its sixth year, the program offered free tax help to people who generally make $66,000 or less, be they persons with disabilities, the elderly or limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.  It was a great year!

VITA is a program that finds its success in the collective work of the volunteers, Steven Vito, who helped lead the program, noted the following: “As you can imagine “doing taxes” is probably not very high on most people’s list of ways to volunteer.  Believe it or not, most of our volunteers return year after year…not because they love taxes and numbers but because they love people.”  “The reward is significant, all paid in smiles and hugs from grateful clients…many of whom have used the service for 4, 5 and even 6 years…the impact is real, and it’s all powered by grace.  The grace of our partners like the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee and the Charlotte County Public Schools, the grace of our sponsors Centennial Bank and Trinity Financial, and most importantly, the grace of our volunteers and their families who unselfishly serve (or share their family members who volunteer) for 10 weeks each tax season.”

Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director of UWCC, describes the work of the dedicated volunteer core who also stepped in to support the effort on the telephone.  “We welcomed them for as many hours as they were able to provide to both answer phones and make the appointments.  It was a great opportunity to help others and made a positive difference in our community.”

Forty volunteers took the necessary training to become certified to prepare the qualified returns.  It did not take long to hear the results of all of that hard work as the clients chose to comment again and again.   “Some of the nicest people I have ever met” describing the volunteers from one taxpayer’s perspective.  “They do a perfect job” another claims.  Still others noted that the volunteers “helped ease my fears and everyone was welcoming, friendly, and helpful.” They always go out of their way to make sure everything is correct, even with unexpected complications.”  Finally, “I am grateful to have someone who is trustworthy taking care of my taxes for me,” and “United Way helps people all over.” 

There was acclaim for the simple fact that the volunteers treated everyone with a great deal of respect and kindness. People with a nagging fear of knowing “we don’t know what we are doing but the volunteers sure do.” Fear associated with getting things wrong is relieved by the patience and grace of the tax preparing volunteers.  It is obvious from the remarks that people appreciated the volunteers tremendously.  One comment card sums it up quite well- “these are the nicest people that do the taxes-so nice that you almost don’t mind paying taxes!”  They must be good!

The VITA program was designed to help simplify the preparation process for those who qualify.  It is not meant to provide all help to all people.  Individuals with Schedule C losses and other disqualifying situations simply need to contact and see a professional preparer for assistance with their more complicated returns.

It is notable that in the five prior program years combined, there were 1,100 returns filed in total.  This year, a total of 589 returns were filed, mostly through e-filing. It is estimated, since this is a free program, that at least $121,628.00 was not spent to cover tax preparation costs. Combine the fact that there is significant tax-preparation cost savings, as well as the secure e-filing, the VITA program provides the maximum calculation of all appropriate and applicable credits and deductions on each return. This year, the total amount refunded to the participants was $542,984.00. In addition, they logged the largest EIC (Earned Income Credit) award for the clients this year. At this year’s pace of providing free tax preparation along with the amount of refunds provided, the program has proven both its need within our community as well as a huge economic impact upon its participants and community.  

The thirty-eight percent increase in the number of program’s participants featured an age range of 16-95-year old’s, with the average age of 64.  There is a great deal of emotion attached to income tax filing, and many are motivated to come in and make appointments because they feel obliged to do it right, the first time.  Others faced the hardship of the loss of a loved one this past year who took care of everything while they were alive and now the remaining spouse is left to handle things they never handled before.  Many were referred by friends and relatives who had taken advantage of the free service years before and were completely satisfied by the well-run and well-administered process again this year.

The United Way of Charlotte County is dedicated to eliminating poverty and considers the VITA program one of the tools in their toolbox.  According to Director Matthiessen, “45% of the county’s households are living month-to-month, paycheck to paycheck.  These folks, deemed Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE), need this service more than ever.”  She goes on, “The folks in our community who are working paycheck to paycheck are those who are working really hard and they deserve the chance to get their taxes done in just as professional a manner as the person who can pay for tax preparation services.”

Helping one another lies at the core of most of what the United Way of Charlotte County engages in on a daily basis.  This particular program, tailored to fit around the tax-filing calendar, shows us all how well-meaning people can come together to reach out to one another and simply help each other out in the human equation.  We are thankful for the 40 volunteers who served nearly 5,000 hours in 10 weeks just for this program alone. This doesn’t even count all of the other programs of the United Way of Charlotte County focuses on. 

Once again, United Way of Charlotte County has found a way to bring people together, and to make this a “win-win-win” situation for the entire community.  This is but one way that people can volunteer to make a difference and truly make what is already a great place to live even better.  It will take work, but perhaps working together by “Living United” leads us to a place of grace we simply never have visited before. 

If you are interested in being involved with the Charlotte County VITA program, please call 941-627-3539.

Saturday, December 1, 2018