The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) clinic at Trinfo will open for the 2022 tax season in early February. Now in its fourth year, the clinic will continue to offer free tax preparation services to the community. The clinic serves both English and Spanish-speaking clients who make less than $55,000 per year. This year, site director Serena Laws, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, aims to be open more hours and serve more clients.
The clinic will operate with a drop-off model. While many VITA clinics in the area were fully remote for the 2021 season, the Trinfo clinic operated by having clients drop off their documents on-site and pick up their tax returns later. Many clients appreciated the ability to physically visit the Trinfo clinic site. The drop-off model allows clients and clinic staff to stay safe, but helps clients who may prefer to come in-person as opposed to navigating an online system.
“We have had numerous clients who relied on our ability to provide the in-person, drop off option. The virtual alternative is really challenging, due to limited English language, lack of computer access or skills, and in several cases disability,” writes Laws.
Students in Laws’ political science course “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” are trained as IRS-certified tax preparers. The course is a Community Learning course that allows students to gain real-world experience preparing tax returns for low-income community members. Students and other volunteers help staff the clinic.
Laws is looking forward to continued growth of the clinic this year, especially because Hartford resident Linda Martinez ’04 will serve as co-site coordinator. Martinez worked at Trinfo as a student and recent graduate from 2000 to 2006. With Martinez’s help, the clinic will be open more hours and be able to serve more clients. Last year, the clinic prepared more returns than in its first two years of operation, preparing a total of 344 returns. The returns generated a total of $619,049 in refunds. The clinic saved clients over $85,000 in tax preparation fees and the average income for individuals served through the clinic was $20,495.
Appointments can be made for the Trinfo VITA clinic or another nearby clinic by calling 2-1-1 or online at http://www.211ct.org/. For more info on VITA in CT, visit https://unitedwayinc.org/myrefund/.
Trinfo VITA Hours 2022
2/7/22 to 4/18/22