After returning more than $27 million to the pockets of Rhode Islanders last year, United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) has announced that the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is back for 2020 and is again led by UWRI. The effort has a presence in Newport and Bristol, with a program site in each community. 

Through VITA, working individuals and families who earn $55,952 or less annually and meet eligibility can access free tax services to ensure they receive the money they’re due in tax refunds and credits. Each VITA site is staffed by IRS-trained and certified volunteers who offer services in English and Spanish, and file returns electronically. Volunteers are particularly well-versed in the important Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which reduce tax burden and can lead to a larger refund.

Locally, the following VITA program sites are available to help area residents:

  • Bristol: Bristol EBCAP/Benjamin Church: 1020 Hope Street
  • Newport: EBCAP/Presbyterian Church: 4 Everett Street

Program sites currently offer services and continue into April. Appointments are needed for some sites and can be made by calling 2-1-1. General questions about VITA and program eligibility may also be directed to 2-1-1. A statewide list of VITA sites with contact info and hours can be found on UWRI’s website.

Those seeking services at a VITA site must bring: Social Security Card(s) for self, spouse, and dependents; valid photo ID for self and spouse (if applicable); 2019 W-2, 1099 and 1095-A forms; copy of 2018 Federal Tax Return if available; and child and dependent care expenses and Tax Identification Number (SSN or EIN) of care provider. For direct deposit, a checking or savings account number with routing number is needed. 

United Way of RI has led VITA locally since 2005. With support from Citizens Bank and in partnership with the IRS, the effort completes and files more than 20,000 tax returns for Rhode Islanders annually. Over the past four years alone, VITA has returned more than $90 million to state residents and the local economy.  

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.