Ali Otuzoglu, Contributing Photographer

April 15 marked the last day to file taxes in the United States.

To aid New Haven residents with their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service’s Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program helped New Haveners at New Haven Free Public Library, as well as 13 other sites around Greater New Haven, starting Feb. 12. On the last day of the tax-filing period, the library saw an influx of citizens seeking help.

“I got here at 10:40 a.m. and it’s now 5,” said Dana Fripp, a freelance singer who has performed with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. “I had to be here super early this morning to make sure I got that ticket. I’m just so blurry and tired and hungry right now. It’s the longest I’ve ever waited, because we have a lot of people here today.”

Fripp added that she was filing her taxes on Tax Day because she was preoccupied with personal issues. In her past three years receiving assistance from VITA, she said this was the busiest she has seen the library.

Fripp invited the News to come with her as she got her final forms approved. VITA volunteer Kelly Lopez ’25 helped Fripp finalize her tax filings.

“This is my third year [volunteering for VITA],” said Lopez. “It’s just nice seeing how grateful people are and getting to know people and their story.”

According to VITA volunteer Jack Dozier ’27, on Monday they had four times the number of people that they would have at a normal session.

Dozier said that VITA volunteers had 70 hours of training between November and January to get tax law-certified by the IRS. He said that VITA only helps with income taxes and cannot assist small business claims.

However, he emphasized the variety of stories that come up during VITA programs. He added that he helped a client who was starting her own business apply for an employer identification number.

Dozier emphasized the dedication of his team, noting that he has heard of cases where volunteers stayed one to two hours over their shift just to help one person. He told the News of a time he was helping a woman file taxes who mentioned offhandedly that she had just had a baby. Dozier realized she was eligible for a child tax credit and helped her apply. 

“She got her daughter a Social Security number and came back a week later,” Dozier said. “The most special part of it was just getting to see that the stress had been alleviated. And she also got a pretty decent return.”

VITA helped more than 12,700 Residents file taxes in Connecticut in 2022.