Organizers of a program to help Lincoln-area families get free tax help needs new volunteers to serve more of the community.

The Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln runs the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at several sites throughout the city in partnership with the IRS. Organizers say new volunteers are vital to helping families in need.

“The success of our VITA program depends on neighbors helping neighbors,” said Linda Moody, UNL Center for Civic Engagement. “Many of our families are of low to moderate income, and getting free tax help lets them keep more of their tax refund. It’s an important service for many people in our community.”

Last filing season, volunteers assisted over 2,100 taxpayers in the Lincoln area with tax return preparation, which brought more than $2.7 million in tax refunds back into the local community.

VITA volunteers receive in-classroom or online training in preparing simple tax returns through the Center for Civic Engagement and the IRS. 

Volunteers help electronically file federal and state tax returns using computer software, greet taxpayers, organize paperwork, set up, maintain or manage sites, or handle quality control.

All volunteers preparing returns are IRS-certified to complete simple, non-business tax returns for people with low to moderate incomes, senior citizens, disabled individuals and for people who speak English as a second language.

Training takes place between November and January. Volunteers are asked to spend a minimum of three to four hours per week volunteering from February through April.

For more details or to volunteer, visit lincolnvitacoalition.unl.edu or call 402-472-9638.

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