As Pandemic Ends, Tax Assistance Program Soars

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program returns nearly $20 million to central and northeastern Connecticut

May 24, 2023

More than 13,500 tax filers—a 26-percent increase over last year—received free tax preparation and filing services from hundreds of IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, resulting in nearly $20 million in refunds and credits being returned to Connecticut communities thanks to the 2022 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) campaign.

A collaborative initiative between United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, The Village for Families & Children (The Village) and Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. (HRA), VITA helps individuals and families get ahead financially, pay down debt and work toward saving for the future.

The VITA campaign is available at no cost to individuals and families with 2022 household incomes up to $60,000 during the tax season. Across central and northeastern Connecticut, the average federal refund was $2,000 and the average federal Earned Income Tax credit claimed was $1,700 according to IRS reporting.

“For nearly two decades, United Way has been a leader in our VITA collaborative alongside The Village and HRA, with our role of late being to recruit volunteers and get them certified by the IRS with the goal of ensuring families receive free tax preparation and filing services. Seeing this collaboration grow throughout the years has been remarkable. VITA is a great example of how United Way brings the right people and resources together for the well-being of children and families across our region,” said Eric Harrison, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “Throughout the tax season, many community partners and government leaders joined us to amplify our efforts to make sure families were aware of VITA. This year, we served more families than we have since before the pandemic. No one person nor organization can do this work alone, and I would like to emphasize how grateful we are to the hundreds of volunteers who gave their time and talent in service to our community. Without them, VITA would not be able to support thousands of local families,” added Harrison.

“VITA is vital for thousands of families in Greater Hartford – unlocking on average $2,000 in tax credits and rebates for each family. The money so often goes to buying groceries, repairing a car or paying rent. I’m so pleased The Village could once again play a pivotal role in helping these families. We could not do it without dozens of volunteers and dedicated staff,” said Galo Rodriguez, President and CEO, The Village.

“VITA is more than just free tax preparation. This year, considering all of the changes in the economy, this opportunity to receive support, resources and wrap-around services through VITA was key for the families in need of these critical resources,” said Dr. Marlo Greponne, Executive Director, HRA.

VITA volunteers are still filing returns for taxpayers with annual household incomes up to $60,000 that qualify for VITA, including tax filers who received tax forms (such as a W2) late or filed for an extension. Filers seeking assistance in Greater Hartford should call The Village VITA assistance hotline at 860.971.4750, while filers seeking assistance in New Britain and the surrounding areas should call HRA of New Britain at 860.826.2278.

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