Contact: Mary Beth Kelton | firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/29/16
United Way of Central Texas and Community Partners Kick-off VITA Program
Temple, Texas – January 29, 2016 – United Way of Central Texas (UWCT) and its community partners—the Central Texas Housing Consortium, Helping Hands Ministry of Belton, the McLane School of Business at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Central Texas Workforce Solutions— will kick-off the 2016 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in February. This is UWCT’s ninth year to provide tax assistance to the local community. Clients who are eligible to have their taxes prepared for free must make less than $50,000 a year—last year, the average client income was $22,000 per year.
The First Baptist Church of Belton VITA site will open Tuesday, February 2, 2016. The Rose Hall, First Baptist Church of Temple, Helping Hands, and Killeen Central Texas Workforce Solutions VITA sites will open the following week.
Call the United Way of Central Texas office at 254-778-8616 to schedule an appointment.
Belton VITA Sites
First Baptist Church of Belton
Helping Hands Ministry
Temple VITA Sites
First Baptist Church of Temple
Killeen VITA Site
Central Texas Workforce Solutions
In 2015, the UWCT VITA program prepared 783 free tax returns for Central Texans with low to moderate incomes, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and those having limited English proficiency. IRS certified VITA volunteers provide basic income tax return services without charge, ensuring 100% of the tax refund goes directly to the customer.
"Last year, over $1 Million in refunds and $541,477 in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) were returned to people living in our local community," said United Way of Central Texas Executive Director James Thurston. "EITCs can supplement a working, low-income individual or family’s income by 20-30%, lifting more working families out of poverty."
2016 will be the second year University of Mary Hardin-Baylor McLane College of Business students have participated as IRS certified VITA volunteers.
“The university is teaching students not only skills, but service, and the VITA program is the perfect opportunity to do both,” said University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Accounting, Economics and Finance Instructor, Jo Ireland. “I am so thrilled to see the students gain experience in their field while giving back to the community.”
When tax season arrives, VITA volunteers dedicate themselves to preparing hundreds of tax returns for Central Texas residents. The experience provides a great opportunity to receive one of the best benefits of volunteering: direct client interaction.
“As you prepare taxes, you will sit with a family, reviewing their year, learning about what they need to do and how they manage a family on a limited budget,” Thurston said. “We often hear from our VITA volunteers that this experience really helps them gain a better glimpse of how the working poor live.”
Helping a family complete a tax return offers instant gratification as a volunteer. A single mother of two who makes $18,000 can be eligible for a child tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. In this example, considering both of those tax credits, she would receive a tax return of about $5,000.
“In most cases, our clients are not expecting a return like that. It’s not uncommon to see tears of joy in their eyes once they learn the amount of tax credits they are eligible for,” Thurston said. “That’s a lot of money to get back at one time—and it’s a big win for the volunteer to be so instrumental in helping get 100% of that money back into the client’s wallet.”
UWCT is engaging Central Texans and bringing people together to solve community problems. Long-term economic success is not possible without an investment in long-term human success. Working together, we are building strong neighborhoods — all over Central Texas— where individuals and communities can thrive.
To make a VITA appointment, please call the UWCT office at 254-778-8616.