To provide free tax assistance to low-income and disabled New Haveners.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a nation-wide program founded by the IRS in 1971. Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax services for low-to-moderate income families. VITA helps community members who (1) generally make $55,000 or less, (2) have disabilities, or (3) speak limited English. In this way, 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. Led by students from all across the university, Yale VITA expands access to vital tax services, leaving a large, quantifiable impact for those in need. 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 welcomes non-English speakers, and encourages taxpayers to come in all throughout tax season.
2019 TAX SEASON FIGURES:
Clients Seen: 1845
Tax returns filed: 1,694
Active VITA Volunteers: 120
Total Amount Refunded: $2.46 million
Saved Tax Preparation Fees: ~$230,000
How to get involved:
Impress a lasting impact on New Haven’s financial well-being.
Many Yale students have found volunteering with VITA to be a deeply rewarding experience. VITA volunteers interact meaningfully with their New Haven neighbors while delivering a lasting impact on their financial well-being. And through their service, VITA volunteers acquire useful life skills in personal finance.
VITA accommodates three main capacities for volunteers: (1) Intake coordinators welcome visitors, manage tax documents, and assign clients to preparers, (2) 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), and (3) Site coordinators, who are experienced volunteers, oversee each volunteer shift, provide expert tax knowledge, and ensure that site operates smoothly and efficiently. Our volunteers include both undergraduate and graduate students.
All volunteers certify annually with the IRS. Those interested in joining should see the prospective volunteers' page here, AND 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 notable for its on-point meme material.)
Among our 120+ active volunteers, here is our 2019-20 leadership team:
Other Leadership– Rachel Handler (Operations Manager); Aaron Farr, Abby Langford, Brian Li (Tracking Coordinators); Ryan Parkey, Albert Lee (Training Coordinators); Mary Chen, Alejandro Ortega, Yasmin Tavakoli (Recruitment and Social Chairs); and our many enthusiastic Site Coordinators…
Site Coordinators– Bessie Bauman, Tylar Bloch, Albert Lee, Kathryn Paton, Brian Li, Helia Gagnon, Aaron Farr, Amanda Patterson, Spencer Hagaman, Rachel Handler, Morgan Cronin, Mei Chen, Kate Kushner