The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is a partnership between the IRS and United Way.
It’s available to families who make $66,000 a year or less, and it’s powered by hundreds of IRS-certified volunteers.
Lena Cribben is one of them. She’s been giving taxpayers free help for three years.
“It’s something that I have a skill at, and I can give back to the community without donating money,” said Cribben.
Instead, Lena donates her time to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
Tamara Kreigh, VITA manager says, “We have VITA sites all the way from Clarksville down to Fayetteville and 8 sites here in Nashville.”
All 33 sites across Middle Tennessee are staffed with IRS-certified volunteers like Lena, who must be re-certified through the IRS each year. They work in community centers serving low to moderate income families.
“At my site here in East Nashville, they’re primarily, a third of them are over sixty years old, we have a high number of single moms that are coming in,” said Kreigh. “The requirement is a household income of 66-thousand dollars or less. But our average gross income last year was about 22-thousand dollars.”
Kreigh says the IRS estimates the average cost to go to a paid preparer is going to be $273.
With the free tax preparation service, families can keep that money in their pockets. Lena says helping her clients improve their financial outlook is gratifying.
Clients are grateful. Connie Brown says, “Outstanding service. I love it!”
A Taxathon kicks off this free service on Saturday. The event takes place at the Financial Independence Center located at 302 Foster St. in Nashville.