The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has received a $12,500 IRS grant to build on its free tax services to rural Floridians with medium to low incomes.
The service, called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, is available now through April 14, said Samantha Grenrock, an IFAS spokeswoman.
In that time, those needing VITA services can visit the IFAS offices in Bradford, Columbia, Gadsden, Hamilton, Leon, Madison, Okaloosa, Putnam, Union and Walton counties. Volunteer tax preparers are available to help at the sites.
To schedule an appointment, residents should call or email their local IFAS office.
In addition to free tax prep, the appointments offer 15 minutes of financial education, which detail the importance of saving receipts and budgeting, according to an IFAS news release.
IFAS has been providing the service since 2012 through funding provided by Bank of America, but this is the first time it has received funding from the IRS, which has allowed for more staff at the local offices.
“In addition to being free, the process ensures that the client’s financial information is kept confidential,” Taylor Spangler, IFAS’ Florida Master Money Mentor state coordinator, said in the release. “And because all returns are e-filed, clients can get their tax refund more quickly than they would with paper filing.”