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.
Join us for our fall tax preparation classes — see "prospective volunteers" tab for more information.
2017 Tax Season figures:
- Households Served: 1,108 returns
- Active VITA Volunteers: 62
- Total Amount Refunded: $1.68 million
- Saved Tax Preparation Fees: ~$200,000
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a nation-wide program began by the IRS in the early 1970s. Through VITA, trained volunteers provide free tax preparation services for low-to-moderate income families. VITA generally helps those community members who make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, or limited English speaking taxpayers. 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 VITA program at Yale operates six days a week out of the New Haven Public library. (See "Logistical Details.") On certain days, VITA at Yale can also accommodate various language preferences. On all days, our aim is to provide engaged and supportive service.
- VITA operates from the start of Spring Term to Tax Day, April 17, 2018.
- Location: The New Haven Free Public Library, downtown at 133 Elm Street.
- Hours: 4:00-7:45p.m. (Monday through Thursday) & 11:00a.m-4:45p.m. (Friday) & 10:30a.m.-2:30p.m. (Saturday)
- Clients, click here for what to bring.
Many Yale students have found volunteering for 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 managers/liaisons, manage each volunteer shift, provide expert tax knowledge, and work to ensure the efficient operation of the center. VITA welcomes graduate and professional students to volunteer alongside undergraduates.
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 the test. The test can also be taken at any time, and self-study is an option. See here for training materials. Being an in-take coordinator does not require studying, just a simple half-hour session to certify.
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 over 60 active volunteers, here is our 2017-2018 leadership team:
Other Leadership-- Sohum (Operations Manager); Amy and Kevin (Tracking Coordinators); Ben, James, and Shruti (Training Coordinators); Carson, Kelsea, Vanessa, and Julie (Recruitment and Social Coordinator); and our many enthusiastic Site Coordinators