Want to learn a skill while helping your North Okaloosa neighbors? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA, seeks help here in Crestview.
VITA is an IRS community initiative led by the United Way of Okaloosa and Walton counties and the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office.
VITA sites provide free income tax preparation for low- to moderate-income taxpayers — generally those earning $52,000 and below — who need help filing their returns.
Crestview's program needs volunteers along with two laptop computers, a paper shredder, paper, ink and various office supplies to continue the program.
The Crestview site is recruiting a site coordinator, greeters and tax preparers. Tax experience is not required for VITA volunteers, who become IRS trained and certified.
If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring the program, or want to find out more, attend the volunteer orientation, 1 p.m. Jan. 10 at First Presbyterian Church in Crestview. Training is offered online and in a classroom setting.
Contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Melissa Forte, VITA coordinator, email@example.com, to volunteer.
BY THE NUMBERS (breakout)
●11,521 returns in Crestview zip codes are eligible for free tax preparation
●Florida's working families in 2012 collectively received more than $14 million from the Child Tax Credit, due in part to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs
Elaine Courtney is an agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office in Crestview.