VITA Program by United Way Concludes Tax Season, Facilitates $1.6M in Returns

The 2024 tax season wraps up with Indian River County households benefiting from $1.6 million in returns through United Way’s free tax preparation services.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a collaboration between United Way and the IRS, operates annually from January through Tax Day. It provides free tax return assistance to families and individuals with low-to-moderate incomes. This year, thirty-three IRS-trained and certified volunteers ensured taxpayers received all eligible credits, resulting in an average refund of $1,325 for Indian River County residents.

“Volunteers play a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to financial assistance, and we take pride in contributing to a program that offers free tax preparation,” said Meredith Egan, CEO of United Way of Indian River County. “These services not only foster financial stability and economic security for individuals but also bolster the overall economy by injecting more funds into our communities. It’s a testament to the power of community and collective effort.”

Concluding on April 15th, the VITA program processed 1,865 tax returns, with an average adjusted gross income of $26,655 per household. Indian River County residents received $407,161 in Earned Income Tax Credits, $121,628 in Child Tax Credits, and $22,761 in Education Tax Credits.

“United Way’s VITA program isn’t just about taxes; it’s about transforming worries into opportunities. Thanks to their support, I’ve not only secured my financial future but also regained my peace of mind. They’re not just filing returns; they’re filing chapters of hope in our lives.” shared one beneficiary.

VITA plays a vital role in connecting residents with available funds, which is crucial for household survival. With no cost to clients, households save an average of $220 in tax preparation fees, funds that can be redirected towards groceries, bills, or emergency savings. This year, VITA clients in Indian River County saved an estimated total of $384,340 in preparer costs.

“These volunteers provide an indispensable service to families and individuals in need. Their positive impact is remarkable,” remarked Deana Shatley, Director of Community Impact. “With over 2,848 hours dedicated, they go above and beyond for our community. This cause is close to our hearts, and we are immensely grateful for our volunteers’ support. We can’t thank them enough.”

The program owes its success to local sponsors such as Kmetz, Elwell, Graham, and Associates PLLC and Offutt Barton Schlitt LLC, alongside a $39,000 grant from the IRS.

For those interested in becoming VITA volunteers or sponsors, please contact Deana Shatley, Director of Community Impact, at (772) 567-8900, ext. 114, or [email protected].

About United Way of Indian River County

United Way of Indian River County (UWIRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every community member. United Way works with local programs to provide resources to individuals and families in crisis today, while working year-round to improve community conditions and create lasting solutions. We are effectively building a strong foundation and improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. For more information about your local United Way, please call (772) 567-8900 or visit our website,

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