(Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas Counties, OH) August 31, 2021 – United Way of Greater Stark County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program volunteers helped bring $3,388,006 back into the community this year through tax credits and refunds, and over the past eight years, $22,446,534!
Tax return preparation looked a little different again this year with clients dropping off their tax packets and no in-person meetings, but VITA still held strong to serving more than 2,800 individuals and families. 78 local volunteers donated 2,879.5 hours of their time and helped complete 5,486 Federal and State returns so far. Tax returns will continue to be processed through the year due to extensions and amendments.
“I helped a single mom with three children as a client this past season,” said Pam Valentine, United Way of Greater Stark County, VITA Volunteer for the past eight years. “She was able to receive the earned income tax credit and had never filed for it before, because she didn’t know to take it. When she found out the amount of money she was getting back, she just couldn’t believe it and said, I can get my car fixed now. Her story is typical of the stories we hear when we do people’s taxes. We know that we’re here for a good reason and that we make a difference in people’s lives.”
VITA helps clients save money. The average tax return costs $200, and volunteers help find money through the refund process and valuable tax credits, like EITC, CTC and ACTC. VITA volunteers receive specialized training from the Internal Revenue Service, and often find tax credits that may be overlooked by other tax assistance programs. This tax season, VITA volunteers identified tax credits equaling $1,122,886.
It is one of the many programs available through United Way’s Economic Mobility Center, formerly Financial Prosperity Center, programs that give individuals and families the opportunity to build a solid financial foundation for the future. The center offers workshops in financial education and career readiness, plus financial coaching and counseling, benefits application assistance, auto repairs and more – all services that benefit financial health and stability.
Looking to volunteer for the program and help families build stronger futures? Learn more about how you can volunteer by visiting uwstark.org/VITA or reach out to Tami Stephens, VITA Program Manager, 330-491-9989, [email protected] by November 19, 2021.
Since 2013, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) has been available through United Way of Greater Stark County. It helps moderate-to-low-income taxpayers meet basic needs and build financial assets as they continue to achieve long-term financial independence. Trained volunteers help individuals file returns for free, looking for all possible deductions and credits.
About United Way of Greater Stark County
For nearly 100 years, United Way of Greater Stark County has served Stark and Carroll Counties. During that time, we have continued to build a better, equitable community where every person has the potential for a healthier life, a better education and more financial stability. We look to the future through our investment priorities, which ensure our community will have the foundation it needs to thrive: Access to Health, Childhood Success, Youth Success, Economic Mobility and Basic Housing Needs. With the support of volunteers, community partners and donors, we invest donor dollars efficiently and effectively into local community programs serving the most critical needs. Learn more at uwstark.org .