On Tuesday, United Way of Santa Barbara County, Rep. Lois Capps and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider recognized members of UWSBC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program with Certificates of Appreciation.

As part of UWSBC’s “United for Financial Empowerment” partnership, VITA helped Santa Barbara County families gain access to free tax assistance, affordable banking, products and financial literacy classes.

United Way recruited and trained volunteers to become IRS certified tax preparers in order to provide free income tax return preparation and e-filings for those with an annual incomes under $58,000.

Between Feb. 1 and April 16, more than 150 VITA volunteers prepared taxes for more than 2,600 families resulting in more than $3 million in refunds in South Santa Barbara County.

Volunteers were honored for their hard work and dedication in serving their community throughout the tax season.

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— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing United Way of Santa Barbara County.