VITA Breaks Returns Record!

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VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE (VITA) provides individuals and families assistance with free tax return preparation for the potential increase in income resulting from earned revenue and child care tax credits.

New River Community Action’s VITA Program goal for the 2016 tax season was to complete 800 returns. We exceeded that goal by completing 890 tax returns and filing 53 more returns filed via MyFreeTaxes, an increase of almost 200 returns compared to last season.

The 2016 tax season was a success for many reasons, not just the increase in returns completed. Our volunteer number increased by over 50%, and the number of sites offering VITA rose as well.

Our partners in the community make the difference!  Almost 600 of our returns occurred at sites not operated by New River Community Action.  This year, as for the past several years, we enjoyed a successful partnership with First NRV Federal Credit Union. Over 300 returns generated from this site alone.  We operated at four new locations this year: Pulaski County Public LibraryPulaski County Senior CenterCommunity Christian Church and the Commissioners of the Revenue for both Radford City and Pulaski County. Over 250 returns were filed from these sites.  We also continued to partner with the NRCA AmeriCorps program, utilizing members for the required tax return reviews. We truly appreciate these organizations and businesses that support VITA!

VITA Volunteers celebrate a successful season with a recognition dinner.

The best part of our VITA program is our volunteers!

Out of the 890 returns this season, 600 were returning customers! This is in part due to our incredible volunteers who go above and beyond to serve.  Several of our volunteers are long-term preparers, so they bring experience and knowledge to the table each year. Many of our clients know their preparers and ask for them by name.

NRCA said a tearful farewell to two long-time, dedicated volunteers this year.  Jettie Montgomery has prepared taxes for VITA for the last eight years and is retiring from the First NRV Federal Credit Union. Jettie prepared over 300 tax returns working Monday through Friday each week during tax season.  Richard Theobald finished his tenth season for VITA.  Even at 80 years old, Richard was preparing taxes at least three days a week in Pulaski.  We will surely miss these two gentlemen! We also appreciate our other volunteers, especially long-time volunteers, Lee Hinkle and Brenda Springer, as they continue to make a difference in their communities by volunteering for VITA.

How can you make a difference?

Simple, you can help in your community by preparing taxes free of charge. Become a volunteer with VITA, and you will receive training to provide free tax help for low-to-moderate income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns.

Here are five good reasons why you should become a VITA volunteer.

  1. No prior experience needed.  You’ll receive specialized training and can serve in a variety of roles. If you are fluent in another language, you may be able to help those who speak that language.
  2. Free tax law training and materials.  You’ll learn how to prepare basic tax returns and learn about tax deductions and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers. These include credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly.
  3. Volunteer hours are flexible.  Volunteers serve an average of three to five hours per week. The sites are usually open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline in April.
  4. VITA sites are often nearby.  NRCA had ten sites that were set up in neighborhoods all over the New River Valley this year. They were located at NRCA offices, libraries, Commissioner of Revenues offices and similar places. The chances are good that you can volunteer at a site near you.
  5. Continuing education credits for tax pros.  Enrolled Agents and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn credits when volunteering as a VITA instructor, quality reviewer or tax return preparer.

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