Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

VITA is Vital

You don’t need to pay for simple tax preparation.

Thanks to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, IRS-certified volunteers will prepare your taxes and ensure you get the largest refund for which you qualify. You may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when you file. 


VITA Volunteers pose 2023 Prendergast library

Each year, the United Ways of Chautauqua County administer the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) program locally, training volunteers to prepare income tax returns at no charge to residents.

“We are chartered to assist low-to-moderate income taxpayers with a household income of $79,000 or less,” said Joe Kwiatkowski, coordinator of the VITA program for the United Ways of northern and southern Chautauqua County. “We also prepare tax returns for citizens with disabilities and with limited English proficiency.”

The primary focus of the VITA program is securing Earned Income Tax Credits for working families. The goal of United Way and its volunteers is to ensure that 100% of individuals’ refunds are returned to the taxpayers locally.

Last year, the VITA program in Chautauqua County generated more than $2.1 million in tax returns for 2,100 individuals and 1,550 households.

Behind the scenes, the United Ways of Chautauqua County administer the federal VITA grant by coordinating the community sites where the tax preparation is held and training volunteers to facilitate the tax preparations.

Appointments are available in Jamestown at the Prendergast Library.In northern Chautauqua County, the main VITA location will be at the United Way office on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. VITA sites will also be available in Silver Creek, Sinclairville, Mayville and Findley Lake in February.

A list of the documents needed to bring for a VITA program appointment can be found online at: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/checklist-for-free-tax-return-preparation

Appointments for VITA Tax Assistance through the United Ways of Chautauqua County can be scheduled by calling 211.

The toll-free number is 1-888-696-9211 or you can also text your zip code to 898211 (messaging and data rates apply.)
A service representative will then direct you to the appropriate location to schedule your appointment.

Appointments do fill up fast, so calling early to schedule is encouraged.

In lieu of an appointment, taxpayers can also use the self-preparation portal at http://www.MyFreeTaxes.com

The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) have operated for over 50 years and offer free basic tax return preparation and assistance to: 

  • Households who generally make $64,000 or less
  • Persons with disabilities 
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers and
  • Persons 60 years of age and older with questions about pensions and retirement who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. 


Once your appointment is confirmed, please bring the following:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID.)
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse, and dependents. 
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse, and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number.
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse, and dependents on the tax return.
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-NEC, 1099-MISC) from all employers.
  • Unemployment statement
  • Interest, dividend, and brokerage statements from banks (Forms 1099.)
  • Education and student loan documents (1098T, 1098E)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available.
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check.
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number.
  • Form 1095-A.
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable.
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.