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VITA Program is a Vital Resource

VITA in Columbia County. . .

The UF/IFAS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program uses IRS-certified volunteers to provide free basic income tax preparation with electronic filing and financial education to qualified individuals in rural North Florida. In 2016, 285 taxpayers in nine North Florida counties, including Columbia County, received free tax preparation from UF/IFAS VITA sites. Program participants saved an estimated $268 per return, the average cost of professional income tax preparation help in the Southeastern United States[1].

The VITA program helps clients find tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Care Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Education Credit. Each VITA appointment also includes a 15-minute session on financial education, covering the importance of saving receipts, maintaining a bank account, and establishing a budget. The service is fast, free, and confidential, and puts money back into the community.

In 2017, the VITA program continues to provide a valuable community service and powerful learning experience. Participants are learning how to improve their financial well-being and they receive the tools needed to implement what they learn. VITA appointments are available at the Columbia County Extension office through April 12, 2017.

[1] http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12065684/average-income-tax-preparation-fees-increased-in-2015

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