(Canton, OH) April 29, 2019 – United Way of Greater Stark County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program celebrated their best tax season ever on April 26 with a celebration that included recognition of volunteers and an awards presentation.
In 2019, United Way of Greater Stark County’s VITA program and its volunteers helped income tax clients in local communities collect over $3.6 million in tax credits and refunds. 106 local volunteers donated 2,685.4 hours of their time and helped complete 5,385 Federal and State returns so far. Tax returns will continue to be processed through October due to extensions and amendments.
“Every year, our VITA volunteers bring more money back into the community, which stimulates the local economy,” says Tami Stephens, VITA Site Coordinator for United Way of Greater Stark County. “The average tax return costs $200, so we are helping them save there but we are also helping them keep their hard-earned money through their refund and valuable tax credits, like EITC and ACTC. Because our volunteers receive specialized training from the Internal Revenue Service, they often find tax credits that may be overlooked by other tax assistance programs. This tax season, VITA volunteers identified tax credits equaling $1,356,487.”
VITA also hosted two successful “Take Your Taxes for a Ride” drive-thru tax filing events on February 23 and March 30. Drive-thru events allow more flexibility for people with busy schedules. Tax payers dropped off their tax information without leaving their vehicles. Returns were processed with 48 hours.
Voted one of the top 3 tax services in Stark County in the Canton Repository’s Readers’ Choice Awards for several years in a row, United Way of Greater Stark County’s VITA program was recently named the #1 Ohio Benefit Bank Tax Site in Ohio for tax season 2019. This designation is based upon the number of tax returns filed and amount of refunds received by taxpayers.
“VITA plays an important part in the community,” says United Way of Greater Stark County President and CEO Maria Heege. “This program gives many taxpayers back a significant portion of their annual income. VITA offers our neighbors an opportunity to build a solid financial foundation for the future. The program also connects clients to our [Economic Mobility Center, formerly Financial Prosperity Center], which focuses on additional services available to help clients achieve financial independence. The center offers workshops in financial education and career readiness, plus budget coaching, credit counseling, benefits application assistance, auto car repairs and more – all services that benefit financial health and stability.”
Pictures from the celebration can be found on Facebook @UnitedWayofGreaterStarkCounty
Learn more about VITA by visiting www.uwstark.org/VITA or reach out to Tami Stephens, VITA Site Coordinator, 330-491-9989, [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.