We are proud to partner with United Way Suncoast in conjunction with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to open our Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club as a site for individuals to prepare their federal tax returns for FREE!
From January 28 through April 15, individuals who earned less than $64,000 last year can visit our Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, located at 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free tax preparation. The program connects low-income residents in the Suncoast Region with IRS-certified volunteers who file their tax returns at no cost. The volunteers will prepare qualified individuals' taxes and ensure they get the largest refund possible. Individuals may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when they file.
Since 2013, United Way Suncoast has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties during the tax season to designate the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site for its Free Tax Preparation Program. Last year, the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club was the highest volume VITA site in the area, serving 445 working families and securing $664,000 in tax refunds by accurately preparing and e-filing tax returns.
The program has significantly grown since the partnership was established four years ago. From 2015 to 2016, the site increased the number of low-income residents served from 322 to 445, which represents a 38 percent increase. The majority of those served last year came from households with an annual income below $30,000.
The cost of paying a for-profit business to file taxes continues to increase, with many filers paying more than $200—money that can go towards a grocery trip or utility bill. In fact, the Free Tax Preparation Program saved the residents served at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club in 2016 a total of $89,000.
“We continue to partner with United Way Suncoast year after year because the Free Tax Preparation Program keeps hard-earned dollars in the pockets of working families in our community who need financial assistance the most,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties.