Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

You can get FREE tax preparation at The Unity Council!
Don’t pay someone to do your taxes – Our IRS-certified tax preparers will find you the most savings free of charge!

The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. We have a team of IRS Certified Tax Preparers who make sure each return is accurate and YOU get the maximum return back.

Now Accepting Appointments for 2016 Tax Season!

To make an appointment:United-Way-Logo

By Phone: Call 510-535-6101.
In Person: Visit The Unity Council Career Center during regular hours: M-F 9:00am – 5:00pm.
By Email: Please send your name, contact information, and availability to LOG-EKS-Facebook_Newvita@unitycouncil.org with “VITA appointment request” in the subject line.


Where is the VITA site? The VITA site operates at The Unity Council Career Center: 1900 Fruitvale Ave. Oakland, CA 94601

How do I make an appointment? To make an appointment over the phone, call 510-535-6101. To make an appointment in person, you can visit The Unity Council Career Center during regular hours: M-F 9:00am – 5:00pm. To request an appointment via email, please send your name, contact information, and availability to cjohnson@unitycouncil.org with “VITA appointment request” in the subject line.

Can I file my taxes at the VITA site if I am not a U.S. citizen? Yes. An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number. We do NOT assign ITIN numbers. For a list of ITIN providers, visit: www.irs.gov/individuals/acceptance-agents-california

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for you, your spouse and dependents
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable (example: unemployment benefits)
  • Optional: A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available

Before scheduling your appointment, please review a list of the types of returns the VITA site can prepare: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3676bsp.pdf

What is the last day to file taxes for 2016? Monday, April 17th, 2017. We are open an extra 2 hours the last Saturday before the tax due date.

Does VITA prepare Federal, State, and Local tax returns for free? Your Federal, State, and Local taxes will all be prepared.

Does VITA e-file tax returns? Yes, VITA sites e-file all Federal and State tax returns.

What if I need to file a return for a state other than California, can VITA do that? VITA in-person sites can only prepare CA tax returns, but you can visit the United Way website and do your own return to file state returns other than CA. Visit: www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes/

Can I file last year’s taxes or make an amendment to a prior year? No. But, you can visit the United Way website and do your own amendment or prior year return for free. Visit: www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes/

I did my taxes with you last year. Do you have my information still on file? No, we do not save any information from past years. Please bring all necessary documents to your appointment.

Tax Resources

  • IRS Phone Assistance: 1(800) 829-1040
  • IRS Oakland Office
    1301 Clay St., Oakland, CA 94612
    (510) 637-2487
    Monday-Friday – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Where is my refund?
    Federal Returns 1 (800) 829-1954 | www.irs.gov
    California Returns 1 (800) 852-5711 | www.ftb.ca.gov
  • Call 211 for information on tax help, housing, jobs, benefits, and other resources. Available 24/7, free service: 211bayarea.org


Effective from January 30th – April 22nd:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm (last appointment schedule at 5:00pm)
Wednesday: 1:00 – 6:30pm (last appointment scheduled at 6:30pm)
Saturday (every Saturday unless otherwise noted): 11:00am – 3:00pm (last appointment scheduled at 3:00pm)
Saturday April 15th ONLY: 10:00am – 4:00pm (extra 2 hours; last appointment scheduled at 4:00pm)

Closed for holiday:
February 20th (Presidents Day)
March 31st (Cesar Chavez)


VITA Site Coordinator

See Also: