Last year River Cities United Way began a new tax program in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. The program, called VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), was hugely successful in 2016.
During 2016, with the help of 26 VITA volunteers and six VITA locations the past year, there were 156 returns prepared. This brought back into the Mohave County communities over $190,000 in refunds.
The IRS estimated that the average cost per return is about $250. Based on the information above, the 156 individuals and/or families saved more than $39,000.
Looking at Mohave County using an Adjusted Gross Income of less than $50,000, there were more than 57,000 returns that were prepared by paid preparers. That is more than $14 million that these individuals or families would have been saved using the VITA program.
If consumers don’t need the assistance. they can also visit myfreetaxes.com and file on their own with no catches, gimmicks, or other strings attached.
River Cities United Way and the VITA program will provide free income tax preparation assistance to those who qualify. Individuals and families with a household income of $65,000 or less per year can receive free tax preparation and help with tax credits they may not be aware of, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Child Tax Credit, Education Tax Credit, and Child Care tax deductions.
More than $3.4 million was returned to eligible working families in 2014. VITA’s goal is to help more individuals and families achieve greater financial stability with their free tax preparation services. Anyone who files a basic tax return can have their taxes prepared at one of the many VITA sites in Bullhead, Kingman, and Lake Havasu City. Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, based on availability of community volunteers.
To schedule an appointment, visit www.rivercitiesunitedway.org/ or call 928-855-6333.
The VITA program is also looking for volunteers to assist in tax preparation. Volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis through April, and no experience is necessary. Volunteers will receive free IRS certification training as tax preparers, screeners, greeters, reviewers, and site coordinators. Bilingual volunteers are also needed.
To volunteer, contact River Cities United Way President and CEO Lyn Demaret or VITA Coordinator Carol Nicolaysen at 928-855-6333, or email Carol at email@example.com.
Feature Photo: Carol Nicolaysen and Robert Starkey look over tax forms at United Way.