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VITA Valet resumes
May 20, 2020

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VITA Valet resumed its services at Lehigh Community Services last week to help the Lehigh community with its tax preparations.

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Volunteer Engagement Manager Mary Meador said before they suspended the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Valet service in March due to COVID-19, they had completed approximately 100 tax returns via the Valet program, and approximately 700 tax returns through their traditional tax prep service at Lehigh Community Services.

"Due to the coronavirus, traditional tax prep services were suspended on March 16, and the Valet service on March 21 out of consideration for both the clients and volunteers' safety," she explained.

Last week, on May 12, the Valet tax prep services resumed with a slight change, at Lehigh Community Services.

"Now, clients come to the office and stay in their car and a tax preparer will come to their car, have the client complete an intake interview and then the client leaves their tax papers, like W2s and 1099s, with the preparer," Meador said. "The client returns to the office parking lot one week later to receive their completed return."

The Valet VITA is offered from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursdays, at Lehigh Community Services. The service is free for individuals and families that have an annual income of less than $66,000. Clients wishing to participate in the Valet service need to make an appointment by calling United Way at (239) 433-3900.

Meador said taxpayers need to bring a photo ID and a Social Security card for everyone on the return, as well as their tax documents, bank account information for direct deposit of returns, and if they had Marketplace health insurance, they need to bring their 1095A with them.

"The tax filing deadline for filing a 2019 tax return is July 15, and at Lehigh Community Services, we offer free year round tax preparation services," she said. "VITA program is a free tax preparation service sponsored by United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee and performed by IRS certified volunteers who absolutely love doing taxes and helping others."

For more information, or for those who have questions, contact Meador at marym@unitedwaylee.org, or call (239) 433-7206.

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