United Way of Greater Waterbury & volunteers offer free tax filing help

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Volunteers are coming forward to help keep people from getting ripped off when it comes time to filing their taxes.

“It means a lot especially because I live in this community, as well,” said Denise Martinez, a VITA volunteer. “I feel like it feeds the soul — giving back.”

VITA stands for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which prepares tax returns at no cost for families that earn less than $54,000 per year. That’s good news for Shanda Lisa Garcia of Waterbury, a single-mother with two children who can’t afford to get ripped off this tax season.

“A few years ago I went somewhere else and they charged me close to six hundred just for filing,” said Garcia.

Related Content: Tax assistance offered to people in New Haven

Martinez helped her file last year with VITA and kept hundreds of dollars in her pocket.

“I honestly feel she’s amazing,” Garcia said.

The impact the VITA program had last year was staggering.

“We were able to process 1,222 tax returns,” said Karen Mellow of the United Way of Greater Waterbury. “And that actually helped our residents gain over one million 8 hundred thousand dollars in federal refunds.”

That result is a big reason why Anthony Ceste feels happy volunteering for VITA. He’s an accountant and received IRS training.

“It makes me feel very good that I’m making a difference in someone’s life,” Ceste said.

VITA has numerous sites throughout Waterbury and the state where you can get help filing your taxes. For more information on dates and times and to see if you qualify click here or you can dial 211 for VITA sites across Connecticut.

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