April 03, 2018

How VITA is helping hard working tax payers receive more on their tax returns







A United Way Collaborative

The mission of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is to provide free tax help to taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns from reliable tax professionals such as:

- Low and moderate-income individuals and families
- Persons with disabilities
- Individuals with language barriers

Filing taxes can be complicated and without assistance many miss vital income tax deductions that could put more of their hard earned money back in their pockets. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides tax preparation assistance services to thousands of taxpayers locally and millions of taxpayers nationwide.

Since 2014, United Way of Cass-Clay has invested $10,000 annually to two local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Programs as a part of our BOLD GOAL #4, Lifting People Out of Poverty. Thanks to our collaboration with our partners, Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership and SENDCAA, more than 1,000 local tax payers received assistance filing their taxes last year!

VITA Results from 2017


A young single mom with 3 kids came in to get her taxes prepared. She had not filed taxes last year, so the VITA volunteer prepared tax returns for the previous two years for her. While having her return filed, she mentioned that she was hoping to get a decent sized tax return to pay off some bills. She stated that her car needed to be repaired as well but that would have to hold out for another year because she couldn’t afford to fix it right now. She talked about how she had recently received a new job that paid better that she had been working towards for 3 years, and she was finally able to move her family out of a very small apartment and into a townhome with more space for her family of 4.

After the two years of returns were prepared, this mom ended up receiving a total of $13,751 in returns, with just over $8,000 of that coming from the Earned Income Credit. She was in shock at how much she was getting back, and said that she had been working so hard to make life better for her kids and finally feels like she is being rewarded for all of her hard work. She couldn’t believe how many bills and financial needs she would be able to take care of now, and talked about finally being able to take her kids on the vacation that they had been asking about for a long time! She said she waited 3 hours to get her return done but would have gladly waited 3 more, and really loved the Lakes & Prairies VITA services!

These are the happy stories that keep our volunteers inspired to continue giving up their  evenings to be at our tax site, and a great example of how meaningful the work we are doing is to the people we serve!

For information on how to access the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, visit the links below for the details and information about how to access this service supported by United Way

If you live in Clay County
Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership

If you live in Cass County:

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