Each year in Allegany County over a million income tax refund dollars go unclaimed because low- and middle- income residents are unaware that they qualify for this benefit. This program provides free tax preparation, filing and referrals for financial asset building to hardworking individuals and families in Allegany County who qualify for the IRS Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The Allegany County United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program served more people than ever during this year’s tax season. The program was funded by the United Way and a grant from Bank of America. Allegany ARC, ACCORD Allegany Business Center, Directions in Independent Living and the 2-1-1 Helpline provided additional support services to make the program a huge success.
The VITA program is open to any individual or family with an annual income of less than $50,000. “Our entire focus is to provide this free service so people can have all their refund dollars in their hands for maximum use to aid in their financial picture,” claims Joyce Weimer, United Way Board member and VITA volunteer.
“We’ve been operating VITA sites for six years and each year we have been able to serve more residents than the year before,” said Barbara Bates, executive director of the United Way. “Our program is 100 percent volunteer driven so we’re able to offer it for free to qualified residents.”
This year, Allegany County residents could choose from five VITA sites – Alco Federal Credit Union, Allegany Business Center, Allegany County United Way Office, Cuba Library and Houghton College. A team of 20 IRS-trained and certified volunteers helped families and individuals prepare and file 329 returns resulting in $365,858 in refunds.
For more information about Allegany County United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, visit www.ACUW.com or call 585-567-0020.