The Trinfo VITA Tax Clinic is a Community Learning partnership that benefits Hartford residents and Trinity students. In the Political Science course “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford,” Trinity College students learn about the tax code and the history of tax credits in the classroom, and then are trained as IRS-certified tax preparers at the Trinfo Café VITA Tax Clinic. The clinic is one of several VITA locations in Hartford run by the United Way of Southeastern CT and The Village for Families & Children. The program generally serves people who make less than $55,000 a year, people with disabilities, and offers tax preparation services to Spanish and other language speakers.
I learned the sheer complexity of the tax system, but also the struggles that low-income families face that I wasn’t aware of. So just understanding that they might have four different jobs and they’re making nothing, essentially. And then you throw in a kid and rent… I just didn’t understand before.” – Tommy Peduto ’21
In the 2019 pilot year of the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic, 8 students were trained as tax preparers and provided services at Trinfo Cafe where they served 161 clients with total refunds reaching $224,217 and saving $43,953 in tax prep fees. The average annual income of families served was $18,304 and the average return for a Hartford family was $1,494, and for families with kids that number was $4,410.
“This course gave me a better understanding of the tax code, specifically how taxes are filed, what all the forms are, how refunds work… Before this I wasn’t exposed to the process and I feel like it’s going to be helpful in the future for all of us.” – Mary Meza Celis ’22
If you are interested in learning more about the course or how to become a volunteer tax preparer, please email Serena Laws firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Appointments for tax preparation services can be made starting in January by calling 2-1-1 or online at http://www.211ct.org.