THANK YOU TO VITA VOLUNTEERS!!!
At the end of each tax year, we are amazed at the dedication and impact our VITA Volunteers have on our local economy. The 2015 Tax Season officially ended April 15, 2016, and our volunteers worked hard at assisting low-income families and seniors in preparing and filing their income tax returns. This year we are proud to announce 399 – 2015 returns and approximately 25- other year returns, were completed. The impact: more than $636,000 in income taxes returned and approximately $127,200 saved in preparation and advance loan fees. With an estimated total of more than $763,200 back into the pockets of Lamar County residents and our local economy.
VITA is an IRS-sponsored program that provides training to local volunteers to complete income tax returns for local citizens. Each year these volunteers begin training in December and must pass certification tests before they are qualified to complete income tax returns. This amounts to approximately 40 hours committed by each volunteer before tax season even opens.
Local volunteers: Steve Ekstrom provided quality review, expertise and preparation; Edwin Pickle, Bill Bain, Lisa Spann, Ginger Higgins, Joi Roberts, Kat Craft, and Ruth and Randy Evans certified to prepare returns; Doreen Cole, and Amber Musgrove became certified greeters and intake specialists; Bill Townsend provided IT Support, site set-up and tear down.
This year’s season offered many challenges for our dedicated volunteers, including: Affordable Care Act, weather closures, and online software issues. We were only able to prepare tax returns for two Saturdays at the Oak Park United Methodist Church Site, so Steve Ekstrom and Lisa Spann spent additional hours in our United Way office on weekdays.
Our volunteers committed an estimated 700 hours to this program, which is valued at $17,093. However, if you talk with the individuals we helped, their work is priceless.
Without these volunteers the people who look forward to their assistance would most likely end up at paid tax preparers. From the 424 people who had their income tax returns prepared and myself, we would like to thank these volunteers for their effort. Without them this program would not be available.
To become a Certified Volunteer Income Tax Preparer, or for other volunteer opportunities, contact your United Way of Lamar County, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 903-784-6642, or visit our website at www.LamarCountyUW.org.