WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — United Way of Palm Beach County is in search of 200 volunteers interested in accounting or finance in efforts to help middle to low-income families file their taxes free of charge.
This is the 19th year that United Way of Palm Beach County is administering the volunteer income tax assistance program or VITA.
The first year they completed a little over 4,000 returns, and before the pandemic, they were up to 10,000.
Last year, they completed about 8,000 returns, but have a 10,000 goal this coming tax season.
Volunteers will need to pass a background test and be IRS certified to provide people with the most reliable and safe service possible.
If you are not IRS certified, United Way will host training sessions for those who need a certification.
They're also in need of volunteers that speak English, Spanish, and Creole to assist the diverse community.
We do have some volunteers that come back year after year," said Donna Pulda, the Vice President of Volunteer Services with United Way of Palm Beach County."They say what they get out of it is, they feel it's more than what they're giving the client because when the client does receive a decent amount of refund of $4,000-$5,000 and the client is crying, the volunteer just feels really grateful that they were able to help them."
The program is for families that make less than $68,000 or less a year.
Last year, United Way of Palm Beach County was able to get families over $3M in earned income tax credits and $13M in tax returns.
All money they can then invest in local restaurants and businesses befitting our local economy.
"Really the families win, the community the volunteers win," Pulda said. "But typically, there's about 46% of Palm Beach County households that are struggling to make ends meet. So this is a really important program to help them put more disposable income into their pockets so they can save, they can pay down debt, purchase food and school supplies and clothing and things like that for their families."
Since 2004 the program has returned over $250M to the community.
Recruitment for volunteers will last until the end of the year and then the organization will begin outreach to make sure people know services are available.
In February they're hoping to host their taxathon event for people to come to file their taxes.
If you're in need of help with your taxes or if you'd like to be a volunteer you're asked to contact United Way through their website or call 561-375-6600.