Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

United Way of Blair County Offers Tax Assistance

United Way of Blair County offers Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for Blair County residents.  Assistance is available, by appointment only, every Wednesday from February 1 through April 12 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at United Way of Blair County, 5414 Sixth Avenue, Altoona, PA 16602. To schedule a VITA appointment, call (814) 944-0884, ext. 302.

The VITA program, a joint initiative of United Way of Blair County and the Internal Revenue Service, provides free income tax assistance to low-to-moderate income people who need help preparing their tax returns. VITA is offered to qualifying families who earned $54,000 or less. United Way provides this service to people under the age of sixty through a coordination of efforts with Blair Senior Services that provides tax assistance for the over-sixty population. Since 2010, 450 families have used United Way's free program, resulting in $1 million in savings, tax credits and refunds returned to the local economy. The IRS-trained and certified volunteers prepare basic federal and state returns and help taxpayers identify and claim credits for which they qualify, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. In addition to free tax preparation, VITA offers free electronic filing, and refunds and credits can be deposited directly into bank accounts.”

VITA  can save taxpayers hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees and has the potential to make a significant impact on the income of the families served. Clients who use the VITA service keep their entire refund and pay nothing for the service. In many cases, VITA volunteers find that clients qualify for tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which returns even more money that can be used to pay bills, provide for needed home repairs, or put into savings.
Scheduled clients must have the following items with them in order for their taxes to be prepared:

  • Valid photo ID

  • Social Security cards for all people listed on the tax return

  • Birth dates for all persons listed on the tax return

  • All income and wage statements (such as W-2s and 1099R) from all employers

  • Interest and dividend statements from banks

  • All information related to deductions and credits, such as education and medical expenses, real estate tax and, mortgage interest

  • Amounts paid for child care, and child care provider's name, address, and tax ID number

  • A voided check or savings account documentation for direct deposit of refund

  • Prior year's tax return

  • Both spouses must be present to sign joint returns.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance officials expect to assist 200 families this year. VITA volunteers receive specialized training and certification from the Internal Revenue Service. VITA is just one way that United Way of Blair County carries out its mission of uniting people to care for one another and assists families with achieving financial stability.