Shreveport, LA – An average 52 percent of households across northwest Louisiana are struggling to make ends meet. In response, United Way or Northwest Louisiana in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service promotes the annual free tax preparation options available to the public starting Feb. 5. These programs that promote financial stability, may help to relieve the financial burden of tax preparation fees for thousands of local households.

Beginning Feb. 5, ten local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites will be open to the public. To qualify for free tax filing through the VITA program, taxpayers must earn less than $56,000. Volunteer tax preparers are IRS certified with extensive hours of training. They are trained to do simple returns with W-2 and 1099 forms (no itemized or business taxes). In 2019, VITA filings resulted in more than $5 million in refunds to local residents.

VITA locations are made up of area churches, community centers, an independent living facility and more. These sites are available in Minden, Springhill, Natchitoches as well as the Shreveport-Bossier City area. There are designated sites for AARP members, active military and a Spanish speaking interpreter is available upon request.

“VITA is a simple solution to save money on a service that could cost hundreds of dollars,” said Rashida Dawson, Vice President of Financial Stability with United Way NWLA. “We encourage residents to take advantage of this free resource and keep more of their hard earned money. The money saved by taking advantage of the VITA program could help create asset building opportunities for working families such as establishing a sustainable savings.”

If qualifying residents prefer to file their own state and federal taxes, offers free filing software online. Over the past decade, United Way has partnered with H&R Block, who powers to help people easily and accurately file their state and federal taxes online. is a safe, easy and free way to file for taxpayers regardless of their income. This software is available across the United States. MyFreeTaxes sites will also be available for self-preparation. Each site will have a tax coach available for assistance.

The following locations will operate as a VITA or MyFreeTaxes site during the 2020 tax season. Please call or visit your preferred site during the opening hours listed below. Click here to find the closest VITA site near you.