VITA Seeks Volunteers to Help File Taxes & Reduce Poverty
Twenty percent of Greene County residents live in poverty. Many are eligible for tax credits that could dramatically improve their circumstances – but they don’t know about those credits, or don’t feel confident filing their own tax returns. We have partnered with the IRS to offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to residents, as part of a collective impact initiative to reduce poverty.
“For this past filing season, we had 17 community volunteers and 12 MSU students, who filed almost 900 returns. That resulted in over $800,000 in refunds for our clients,” said Hannah Sheehan, VITA Program Coordinator. “As much as we accomplished with so few volunteers, we want to do even more this coming tax season! We need more volunteers to do that.”
Volunteers file returns at appointment-based clinics using software provided by the IRS. Clients bring their income documents,. certified and trained preparers enter the information, and the software calculates the return and submits it automatically to the IRS.
Volunteers receive FREE training to become IRS-certified tax preparers. Volunteers learn an important, marketable skill, as well as help people save money and get the tax savings they deserve, but may not be aware of.
“I loved volunteering with the VITA program,” said Amanda Coleman, former VITA volunteer. “I met a lot of people who were struggling to make ends meet, and I was able to help them receive refunds that they used to feed their families and keep their electricity on. It was a rewarding experience and made me feel like my volunteer time was actually contributing to helping those families end the cycle of struggling financially.”
To volunteer, call (417) 720-2000 or visit bit.ly/VITAvol. Training begins the first week of December.
Excerpt taken from the Community Partnership of the Ozarks 10/31/2017 email.