The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) project provides free tax preparation to low-income and disabled New Haveners. Filing accurate and timely returns, VITA delivers a quantifiable impact for those in financial need.
2018 Tax Season figures:
- Households Served: 1,607 returns
- Active VITA Volunteers: 110
- Total Amount Refunded: $2.36 million
- Saved Tax Preparation Fees: ~$220,000
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a nation-wide program began by the IRS in the early 1970s. Through VITA, trained and IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax preparation services for low-to-moderate income families. VITA generally helps those community members who make $54,000 or less and persons with disabilities. In doing so, VITA offers accurate filing services while saving clients tax preparation fees.
Yale students operate one of the most active and dedicated VITA centers in the New Haven region. In the Spring, the Yale VITA site operates six days a week out of the Ives Main Branch of the New Haven Free Public Library system. Our site also accommodates non-English speakers. On all days, our aim is to provide engaged and supportive service.
- VITA operates from late January to Tax Day, Monday April 15, 2019.
- Location: The New Haven Free Public Library Ives Main Branch, downtown at 133 Elm Street.
- Hours: Mon - Thurs (4:00-7:45p.m.), Fri (11:00a.m - 4:45p.m.), Sat (10:30a.m. - 2:30p.m.)
- Clients, click here for what to bring, as well as a list of days when we're closed.
Many Yale students have found volunteering with VITA a deeply rewarding experience. VITA volunteers have personal interaction with their New Haven neighbors while delivering a measurable impact on their financial well-being. Through their service, VITA volunteers also acquire a useful life skill in practicing tax preparation services.
VITA has three different capacities for volunteers: Intake coordinators welcome visitors and manage tax documents. Tax preparers (basic or advanced) work directly with clients to complete and file tax returns (while quality reviewers, who are some of our returning volunteers, review each return to ensure accuracy). Site coordinators, who are experienced volunteers, as well as operations managers and tracking coordinators oversee each volunteer shift, provide expert tax knowledge, and work to ensure the efficient operation of the site. Our volunteers include undergraduates alongside graduate and professional school students.
All tax preparers and quality reviewers (including returning volunteers) certify annually with the IRS. VITA offers training to Yale students in the Fall and ample preparation for certification, though self-study is an option. The certification test may be taken at any time. See here for training materials. Becoming an intake coordinator requires only a half-hour training session.
Want to serve your local community while learning a valuable life skill? Join VITA, and have a measurable impact on New Haven! Meanwhile, our volunteer community is a bustling and lively family. We provide training support and everyone takes the certification test at the same time (fueled by Insomnia cookies!). We match W-2 forms with good cheer.
If you are interested in joining, see the prospective volunteers' page here, or contact the VITA project heads (below). If you join in the Fall, you can go through our training and certify before Winter Break. If you join in the Spring, you can self-study with our help, or start right away as an intake coordinator. (Either way, our pan-list is well-known for its on-point meme material.)
Among our 95 active volunteers, here is our 2018-19 leadership team:
Other Leadership-- Sohum Pal (Operations Manager); Bessie Bauman, Sasha Lee, and Amy Zheng (Tracking Coordinators); Morgan Cronin, Joe Doran, and Kathryn Paton (Training Coordinators); Aiden Lee, Ryan Parkey, and Amanda Patterson (Recruitment and Social Chairs); and our many enthusiastic Site Coordinators...
Site Coordinators-- Paul Banegura, Bessie Bauman, Morgan Cronin, Joe Doran, Jasmine Liu, Bishoy Megalla, Sohum Pal, Ryan Parkey, Amanda Patterson, and Vanessa Zhang