VITA program

Angela Lucci helps area residents with their taxes through the VITA program.

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP – The deadline to file your taxes is April 18, but you’re not alone if you haven’t started them yet.

Those who make low- to moderate-level incomes could qualify to get their taxes done for free as part of the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA. It helps people get the credits and money they’re entitled to at tax time.

Angela Lucci helped Gloria Emerson file her taxes Saturday. Lucci asked plenty of questions to make sure her return was accurate.

“We do get pro bono hours as a student for volunteering,” Lucci said.

Lucci is one of about 25 volunteers at the Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg.

“A lot of times when you think of taxes, you think, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s just numbers and forms that I need to fill out and send my money to the government or get my money back from them,’ but this puts a human face to a human interaction,” Lucci said.

“I like coming to this place because they’re very pleasant people, and they talk to you. They give you smiles. I really like this place, and it’s free,” Emerson said.

Emerson is one of about 250 people the university helps each year. The United Way of the Capital Region has more than a dozen partners in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties.

“By partnering with the United Way, we’ve been able to expand and grow the program into a number of different communities and locations,” said Michael Hussey, associate dean of academic affairs and a law professor at the Widener University Commonwealth Law School.

“I’ve had clients that weren’t expecting a return and then start crying because they’re actually getting a refund back, and it’s in an amount they were not expecting,” Lucci said.

Qualifying for the program depends on income, marital status and number of children. For more information, visit www.uwcr.org.

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