main story image for facebook sharing

Pay and Benefits

Alleviating Tax Season Woes

VITA program is here to help

Tax season can be a hectic time of year and for some reading all the different forms can be difficult. Many people will simply drop their paperwork on a professional's desk and pay a pile of cash to get the job done as quickly as possible.

If you are one of those people, save yourself money this tax season and learn a new skill in the process by taking advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

VITA is a self-service program endorsed by the IRS and offered by Military One Source that pairs Sailors and their families up with expert volunteers and streamlined tax software to get the job done right.and a refund in the bank.

"It is truly Sailors helping Sailors," said Lt.Alexandra Marin, a VITA program manager at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. "It is an opportunity to work with a fellow Sailor on how to educate yourself on preparing your own taxes. It's a lifelong skill and starting out with a Sailor teaching you how to do this, so that the next year you can do it for yourself and help your family members and shipmates, that's critical, and self-service VITA taxes is the best way to go about doing that."

Sailors helping Sailors is the main ingredient to VITA. The volunteers share their knowledge so Sailors can learn how to complete their taxes this year and in the future.

Three photo collage of Sailors filing taxes with VITA.

"In previous years there was a build-up of paying someone else to do my taxes, when I noticed it was super simple," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Philljhon Ventura, a VITA volunteer at Naval Station Norfolk. "I got tired of paying someone else to do my taxes when I can do it myself. People should be able to do their own taxes."

Learning the how to file your own taxes isn't the only benefit of VITA. According to the National Society of Accountants, using this free service will save you on average $152 for returns without itemized deductions, and $273 on returns with itemized deductions. "First of all it's free, so you can save a few hundred dollars just by coming to a self-service VITA office," said Marin. "And it educates you on how to prepare your taxes on your own. So when your family and friends want to know how to do it, they can ask you and next year you can have your information saved in the software and you know how to do it yourself."
Another added benefit of VITA and learning how to doyour taxes, is it will give you a new perspective on your own finances that can help you with your personal financial management.

"It actually lets you see it from the preparer's way of doing it," said Ventura. "Now you get a more in-depth look at your own finances."
Ventura said that VITA allows Sailors to have a better understanding of their own finances, allowing them to optimize their future returns.
"Finances for me are kind of a big thing," said Ventura. "Knowing I helped someone financially brightens up my day."

Doing your own taxes may not sound appealing but with VITA you'll save hundreds of dollars, have the help of an expert in the same room whenever you need them and you'll walk away empowered to do your own taxes in the future.

You also have the option of doing your taxes online at and for help you can call 800-342-9647.
VITA Infographic