City of Miami Launches New Virtual Tax Preparation Service
Published on June 30, 2020
With Tax Day fast approaching on July 15, the City of Miami has launched the first-ever virtual version of its longest-running financial empowerment program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The online version of the City's free tax preparation service will help residents submit their tax returns safely and remotely, amidst the challenges presented by COVID-19.
The new virtual version of the City's annual VITA tax prep service was created in partnership with Code for America and its local chapter, Code for South Florida. The non-profit corporation works to improve the way government and non-profit services are delivered in the greater South Florida area by bringing technologists, designers and problem-solvers together with local governments to refine service delivery platforms.
Using paid Tax Site Coordinators and various volunteers that the City has engaged in the past, the City aims to assist residents who have the ability to access a computer or smartphone, but may have limited digital experience. That’s where Code for America comes in: technologists from the organization have created an easy-to-use platform that engages the City's Tax Coordinators and volunteers to guide residents through the online tax returns process.
The City of Miami is the first municipality in Florida to offer this new virtual tax service to its residents. Over the years, the City has helped prepare more than 90,000 free tax returns for local residents. Those returns have yielded more than $190 million in refunds to City residents, providing Miamians with extra money to support their families and the local economy.