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Free Tax Preparation Available For Qualifying Residents

United Way of Escambia County


The United Way of Escambia County is once again providing free income tax filing assistance for residents who qualify.

“Our goal is to allow the service at no cost,” said Lyndi Warner, Volunteer and Community Engagement Director for United Way of Escambia.

Warner points out that it’s about helping residents get back the maximum amount of their earned income in their income tax refund checks. “So that way, they can help pay the bills or buy more food or buy new clothes for the kids; that they are getting back that money they’ve already earned.”

United Way has two tax assistance programs.

Their main service is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which is an IRS program designed to help low and moderate-income taxpayers complete their annual tax returns at no cost.

The program provides local sites where individuals can get in-person assistance and have an IRS-certified volunteer prepare taxes one-on-one tax.

Eligible taxpayers can also file taxes anywhere, anytime online at www.myfreetaxes.com. If questions arise, there’s a MyFreeTaxes Helpline available at 1-855-698-9435.

Eligibility is based on a household income of $62,000 or less.

Taxpayers should have the following items on hand when filing taxes: photo proof of identity; Social Security cards for all members of the household; all W2s, 1095s, 1098s, 1099s, investment statements and other tax forms; bank account information for direct deposit and last year’s tax return if available.

Participation in their tax assistance programs has grown over the years. “Last year we had a 14% increase for the number of people that utilized the service,” said Warner, noting that their volunteers helped over 3,000 people file income tax returns.

In 2015, volunteers helped return $1.3 million in Earned Income Tax Credit and more than $3.9 million in refunds to 3,182 families in our community. The total impact to the community was $5.1 million.

“So we were able to get those dollars back in here and also those dollars are, therefore, being used in our area,” she said.

Locally, VITA is funded through grants awarded to United Way of Escambia County by Wells Fargo, Regions Bank, the Internal Revenue Service and United Way Worldwide. Additional support is provided by our sponsors at Publix and Gulf Power.


VITA is returning this year to Pensacola State College, with sites on the Main Campus, as well as the Warrington and Milton campuses.

Also, there’s a site at St. Sylvester’s Catholic Church in Gulf Breeze.

One of the newer locations is Vocational Services of Global Connections to Employment located at Lakeview Center, 2001 North E Street, Pensacola.


One time events:

Pensacola State College (Century Center)
440 E. Hecker Rd.
Century, FL 32535
January 29, 2016 from 10 am to 2 pm
February 6, 2016 from 10 am to 2 pm
By appointment only. Dial 211 to reserve a spot.

Wedgewood Community Center
6405 Wagner Rd.
Pensacola, FL 32505
February 13, 2016 from 11 am to 2 pm
By appointment only. Dial 211 to reserve a spot.

VITA Site Locations: 

Pensacola State College (Pensacola Campus)
1000 College Boulevard, Building 96
Pensacola, FL 32504
Opens January 25, 2016
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10am - 4 pm
Tuesday and Thursday 10am - 7 pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm

Pensacola State College (Warrington Campus)
5555 W. Highway 98, Student Center (Building 3600)
Pensacola, FL 32507
Opens February 2, 2016
Tuesday and Thursday 3pm - 7pm

Vocational Services of Global Connections to Employment (Pensacola)
2001 North E Street 
Pensacola, FL 32501
By appointment only, call 850.595.1330 to schedule.
Opens February 2, 2016

St. Sylvester's Catholic Church (Gulf Breeze)
6464 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32566
Opens February 1, 2016
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 10am - 4pm

Pensacola State College (Milton Campus)
5988 Highway 90, Campus Library (Building 4100)
Milton, FL 32583
By appointment only, call 850.484.4450 to schedule.
Opens February 2, 2016

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.