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United Way offers free tax preparation services online

United Way will also offer MyFreeTaxes, a free online tax tool for self-preparation.

Eligible residents, with a household adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less, can utilize the free step-by-step online tool at

Starting January 20, IRS-certified specialists will be available to answer tax-related questions at Financial literacy and VITA programs help alleviate future shortfalls in family budgets.

Last year, VITA volunteers assisted 2,040 local families in returning $2,800,000 in refunds. If these families had used payday lenders, refund anticipation loans, or refund anticipation checks they would have lost an estimated $280,000 from their refunds.

Tax returns processed prior to January 31 using MyFreeTaxes or a VITA site will be automatically sent to the IRS on the January 31 open file date.

United Way will launch five additional VITA sites around Escambia and Santa Rosa counties beginning February 3.

For VITA site times and locations, or questions about the VITA or MyFreeTaxes programs, dial 2-1-1 or call United Way of Escambia County at 850-434-3157.

VITA Volunteers are still needed and are encouraged to sign up today. VITA volunteers receive IRS training and certification and are asked to commit a minimum of one hour per week through April 15. For more information, please contact Lyndi Smith at or 850-434-3157.

VITA is generously funded through grants awarded to United Way of Escambia County from United Way Worldwide, Walmart, Bank of America, and Regions.