Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

What is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program?

VITA is a free tax preparation assistance and filing program that helps working individuals, seniors and adults on a limited budget, and other members of our community.

What options are available to file my taxes?

We have 5 ways for you to get your tax return prepared for FREE:

  1. In-person tax preparation appointments
  2. Scan & Go tax appointments: a 2 appointment process for intake and finalization
  3. 100% Virtual tax preparation: a completely online process
  4. Free TaxSlayer account: FREE Federal and State returns
  5. Use myfreetaxes.com to file your taxes

We'll be ready to schedule appointments as of January 10, 2022.

Who qualifies?

We are looking to serve low to moderate income households. We want to ensure that ALICE families and individuals avoid paying for tax preparation to ensure they keep their entire refunds.  

We prioritize servicing those who work and/or live in Hunterdon County.  

Instead of an income limit, we have a complexity limit as we do have tax situations that are out-of-scope for the VITA program (see Q&A below for out-of-scope services).

We especially welcome seniors, adults, and disabled adults on a fixed-income, parents who qualify for the child credit, undocumented residents, residents with ITINs, and contract workers.

How are participants identified?

Participants can self-identify and contact us for assistance. Though many of our client are from referrals from Hunterdon County agencies aware of our program and the benefits it offers enrollees.

How does it work?

  • Once a client contacts us or is referred for assistance, a member of United Way of Hunterdon County will schedule an initial interview to understand the client's needs and potential to participate in the program.
  • If the client qualifies for free income tax preparation, the client will be matched with a volunteer income tax preparer.
  • The client and income tax preparer will work together to fill out and file their income tax return.

VITA Frequently Asked Questions

As with all United Way of Hunterdon County programs, there is no cost to participate. This includes individual assistance from an IRS-trained tax preparer. There are also no federal or state filing fees when you use the VITA program.

First, it's free. You get the full and personalized attention of an IRS trained volunteer to oversee your taxes, and you do not have to pay for federal and/or state filing fees. This program will save you at a minimum $300 of paid preparer fees, as well as the state and federal filing fees.

Second, our IRS trained volunteers are skilled in ensuring that our clients receive the tax incentives they are due, including but not limited to the child tax credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and other credits that you may overlook. There is no difference in service between a paid preparer and our trained volunteers, many of whom have volunteered for this program year-over-year and find great satisfaction in helping members of our community keep more of their hard-earned income.

We receive grants and funding from the IRS to support residents in this program.

Yes. Our trained volunteers sign confidentiality agreements, and anyone working with your personal information has been cleared through a background check with government agencies.

Contact Amy Andersen at amy@uwhunterdon.org.

We are unable to prepare taxes with (but not limited to):

  • Farm income
  • Businesses with a loss or costs of goods sold (i.e. inventory)
  • We cannot depreciate for a home office
  • Rental income (depreciation)
  • Minors with income over $2,200 of unearned income (e.g. unemployment income, sale of stocks/bonds, interest), due to Kiddie tax implications
  • 1098-T forms with lines 4 or 6 filled in

However, if you are comfortable self-preparing your tax return, we have 2 free online options for you to prepare your federal and state returns electronically.

Option 1: Visit www.myfreetaxes.com if your household income is less than $73,000 and you live in Hunterdon County.  

Option 2: Email taxes@uwhunterdon.org to request your free version of TaxSlayer FSA software.