Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Results for 2022-2023

WATERBURY, CT – Now that tax season is behind us, the United Way of Greater Waterbury can share how the community benefited from the work of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coalition and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that prepares tax returns at no cost for families that generally earn less than $60,000 per year.

This coalition includes the Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS), in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service, United Way of Greater Waterbury and United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls.

The program provides several benefits by helping workers feel confident that their returns are filed accurately, promoting the value of saving money at tax time, and increasing the economic viability in Greater Waterbury.
This year, 28 volunteers spent their free time in training sessions to obtain the certifications they needed to accurately prepare 885 returns.

The average refund was $1,428 and saved each household an estimated $250 in tax preparation fees or $221,250 total.
Seventy-five percent of this year’s VITA volunteer team are veterans of this work.

“What was supposed to be a onetime volunteer role turned into a passion, which led to a career,” said Takima Robinson, chief program officer, CAHS, a division of Advancing CT Together, who has been with the VITA program for more than 15 years.  “After my first year as a volunteer, I returned as a site coordinator because I saw the importance of the program and the impact it had to change people's lives.”

She continued, “VITA is not just about doing taxes for free.  That onetime big refund could help a family or individual move from poverty to prosperity.”

In 2023, VITA volunteers prepared returns at 11 sites throughout Greater Waterbury and obtained $1,264,206 in refunds and Federal Earned Income Tax Credits.

Kristen Jacoby, MPH, president and chief professional officer of the United Way of Greater Waterbury said, “By making sure these taxpayers can easily access the refunds they are owed by our government, we’re ensuring that they can pay their bills.  These households are made up of hard-working people — some of them holding down multiple jobs — that are living paycheck to paycheck.  Often, it’s a challenge to make it to that next paycheck and they’re making hard choices between utilities and food or rent and medicine.”

She added, “A refund can keep them away from the edge, in their homes, fed, and warm.  Their kids can focus on homework as they feel secure in their own bedrooms.  And our community’s resources go further with less stress on our shelters and food pantries.”

Karen Mello, director of community impact at United Way of Greater Waterbury, said, “Our VITA volunteers are critical to the success of this program.  We cannot thank them enough for the time they spend in training and with clients.  They are amazing!”

About United Way of Greater Waterbury
United Way of Greater Waterbury mobilizes our ten-town region, amplifies its resources, and invests in approaches that advance equity and measurable outcomes.  The United Way of Greater Waterbury service area includes Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, and Woodbury. For more information please visit: www.unitedwaygw.org.

About the Connecticut Association for Human Services
The Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, uniquely combines outreach into working poor communities at the neighborhood level with broad-based policy work at the state and federal level.  Founded in 1910, CAHS is focused on helping families and children build the skills and assets they need for lasting economic success, strengthening Connecticut’s economy, and improving its workforce.  In addition to advocacy and outreach, CAHS publishes consumer guides, policy briefs, and KIDS COUNT, a highly-regarded data and policy book supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more about CAHS, please visit www.cahs.org.