(Stark and Carroll Counties, OH) November 6, 2020 – United Way of Greater Stark County is now accepting applications for volunteer tax preparers for the upcoming tax season. No experience is necessary.
Individuals who participate in the 2021 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program receive virtual training and IRS Certification appropriate for their volunteer position, as well as materials for self-study on basic income tax law for federal and state returns. In addition, several specific training sessions will take place prior to the kick-off of tax season, including training for the software that will be used during the season, TaxSlayer. Continuing Legal Education credits will be offered to VITA volunteers. Many volunteers have gone on to find jobs preparing taxes. VITA volunteers are covered under the Volunteer Protection Act and are not accountable for tax returns filed to the IRS.
Because VITA volunteers are trained to identify tax credits that have been overlooked by other tax assistance programs, the program brings a substantial amount of money back into the community each year that otherwise wouldn’t be in the community. This money stimulates the local economy, and the program helps people avoid the high cost of paid preparers and predatory lenders.
Last tax season, United Way of Greater Stark County and its 83 VITA volunteers helped income tax clients in Carroll, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties collect over $3.8 million in tax credits and refunds, via drop-offs. Volunteer tax preparers donated 1,832 hours of their time to help complete 4,836 Federal and State returns.
Due to mandatory pandemic restrictions, VITA regulations will follow public health orders and restrict tax interactions to drop-off only services this year. In-person appointments will not be available.
There are many different volunteer positions available within the VITA program, including tax preparation, leading a volunteer team, organizing taxpayer paperwork, or setting up equipment. There’s always somewhere you can help based on your interest.
“The VITA program offers free tax preparation services to eligible, moderate to low income households, who earn less than $90,000 a year. Our IRS-certified volunteers prepare and electronically file federal and state tax returns, so clients can quickly receive their tax refund,” explains Tami Stephens, VITA Site Coordinator for United Way of Greater Stark County. “This program is a great opportunity to volunteer and help people in our community.”
Tax drop-off clinics will be scheduled at multiple locations throughout Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas Counties, so volunteer tax preparers and those filing tax returns have many opportunities to participate in a safe environment.
Clinic locations include Carroll County District Library, DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, Massillon Recreation Center, OhioMeansJobs Stark, Stark State College, and United Way of Greater Stark County. Other sites may be announced throughout the season.
The drop-off only clinics will start approximately February 1, 2021 and run through April 15, 2021. Clinic drop-off times vary, based on location. VITA only accepts clients who have scheduled drop-off appointments.
The service was named “Ohio Benefit Bank Site of the Year” by the Ohio Association of Food Banks 2014-2019. VITA was voted one of the top three tax services in Stark County in The Canton Repository’s Readers’ Choice Awards in the past few years and voted Best Tax Service in The Canton Repository’s 2020 Best of the Best awards.
About United Way of Greater Stark County
United Way of Greater Stark County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And by inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crisis. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our communities by leading in the development of solutions to critical social issues in the areas of health, education and financial stability. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit uwstark.org. Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.