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University of Tennessee employees and their families with incomes less than $49,000 may be eligible to receive free assistance with preparing their income tax returns. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs are certified by the Internal Revenue Service and operated by trained and certified community volunteers.

The free assistance is being promoted by The United Way of Greater Knoxville’s Knoxville Alliance for Financial Independence, as a way to help individuals maximize their refunds through free tax preparation and the claiming of tax credits such as Earned Income Tax and Child Tax Credits.

Many people need access to their tax refunds quickly and are therefore vulnerable to using rapid refund tax services that charge fees and high-interest refund loans. The idea behind VITA is to offer these individuals and families a no-cost alternative to make sure they get as much money back as they are eligible for to help stabilize their financial situation.

For example, many rapid refund preparation businesses overlook the Earned Income Tax credit that is available to low income families. This credit alone can be as much as $4,500, based on income and family size. This can make quite a substantial difference in the amount of their refund.

Participants do not need to be Knox County residents to receive VITA’s free services. For questions or further information, contact Anna Seale with Consumer Credit Counseling Service at 865-329-8006 or