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United Way offering free tax help for qualifying households

Tax Document
Posted at 3:41 PM, Mar 18, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. — Filing your tax return isn't always simple, and this year's process will be different for many.

"The biggest concern is if people didn't get their stimulus payment. A number of people, who have never had to file before, are filing this year because it's the only way to get the stimulus," said United Way of Southern Arizona Associate Vice President of Community Development, Ken Briggs.

Briggs and others are helping people navigate those changes through United Way's "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program" or "VITA." The program is free for anyone with a combined annual household income of $66,000 or less. This year, United Way is partnering with the Pio Decimo Center.

"The idea for low-income tax preparation is to help those with low and moderate-income obtain the credits they can get, make sure their tax return is accurate, and help them stay away from preparers that might create a fraudulent return," said Briggs.

The service is provided primarily online this year. This change was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic but is one that student volunteers, like Margaret Krenke, aren't letting stop them.

"I really enjoy having conversations with clients and hearing about their lives and what their last year has looked like," said Krenke.

All "VITA" volunteers are IRS-certified.

For Krenke, "VITA" is an opportunity to try out a potential career. For those she is helping, it is an essential service they may not have otherwise had.

"I like knowing that I'm a small part of helping to get them the money that they need," said Krenke.

Applications for the "VITA" program are open through April 15, 2021. To get started, click here.

This story was first published by Megan Meier at KGUN.