(Canton, OH) October 23, 2018 – 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 2019 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program receive 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.
Many volunteers have gone on to find jobs preparing taxes. “This program is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to help residents file their taxes properly, but especially for local college students in need of volunteer hours or professional networking,” explains Chrisann Leaman, Economic Mobility Center, formerly Financial Prosperity Center, Manager at United Way of Greater Stark County. “Our participants gain valuable tax preparation knowledge, while helping local families get the maximum refund when they file. Volunteering with VITA is a rewarding experience. You get to see clients’ faces light up when you complete the process for them.” 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, plus helps people avoid the high cost of paid preparers and predatory lenders.
“Tax clinics are scheduled at multiple locations throughout Stark and Carroll Counties, so volunteer tax preparers and those filing tax returns have many opportunities to participate.” says VITA Site Coordinator, Tami Stephens.
Clinic locations include Carroll County District Library, Rodman Library (Alliance), Massillon Recreation Center, Stark County District Libraries (Main, East Canton, Madge Youtz and Sandy Valley), Stark State College, OhioMeansJobs, United Way of Greater Stark County and Walsh University. Other sites may be announced throughout the season. The clinics will start approximately January 22, 2019 and run through April 12, 2019, clinic times may vary, based on location. VITA only accept clients who have scheduled appointments. For an appointment please call 330-994-8482 beginning, January 7, 2018, open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 10:00AM to 5:00PM. VITA also accepts dropped-off taxes at the United Way offices January 28 to April 8 on Mondays from 930AM – 530PM.
Last tax season, United Way of Greater Stark County and its 112 VITA volunteers helped income tax clients in Stark and Carroll counties collect over $3.2 million in tax credits and refunds. Volunteer tax preparers donated 2,114 hours of their time in 79 clinics and helped complete 4,629 Federal and State returns.
This past season VITA also added two tax processing events that made it easier to accommodate residents’ busy schedules, a two-day tax-a-thon in February and a take your taxes for a ride drive-thru in March.
The service was named “Ohio Benefit Bank Site of the Year” by the Ohio Association of Food Banks for the past 4 years. VITA was also voted one of the top three tax services in Stark County in The Canton Repository’s Readers’ Choice Awards in the past few years.
Anyone interested in volunteering should complete the online VITA volunteer registration form at www.uwstark.org/our-work/community-programs/vita or contact Tami Stephens at 330-491-9989 or [email protected].
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 lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities in Greater Stark County. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit www.uwstark.org. Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.