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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
Every year, thousands of individuals and families in Coconino, Navajo and Apache counties receive free assistance from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program through the United Way of Northern Arizona. IRS-certified volunteers help them identify all the credits and deductions that are due to them and assist in the filing of the taxes. VITA originally began in the early 1970s on the campus of a California college. The idea was to help low- and moderate-income taxpayers navigate through the tax return process while giving accounting students at the college a powerful hands-on learning experience. The program quickly grew from a group of students in one community to a nationwide initiative that has now served millions. In Northern Arizona, the program has experienced tremendous growth. As an example, the total dollar value of refunds in 2009 was less than $2 million. They topped $4.5 million in 2018. The service is available to households who fall under a specific income (the maximum income changes each year), seniors, those with disabilities and people with limited English speaking skills.