With another tax season in the books, we are pleased to announce that our VITA tax site returned over $1.5 million in tax refunds to local residents – a record year!
The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program provides free tax preparation services for low- to mid-income households, with a special focus on tax credits often unclaimed by this population. VITA is the most successful antipoverty program operated by the IRS; United Way of Broome County has managed a local tax site since 2010.
This tax season, 732 households turned to United Way for assistance; in total, $1,514,007 in tax refunds were processed, with an additional estimated savings of $148,600 in tax prep costs to participants (based on IRS estimates).
Robin Alpaugh, the new Executive Director of United Way of Broome County explained, “The real and immediate economic impact of this program is incredible. By carefully examining each situation, we’ve been able to maximize refunds that make a meaningful difference in the lives of residents. As a result, the program will effectively inject $1.5 million dollars into our community over a short period of time. We’re proud to play a part in working to transform our regional economy by keeping those tax return dollars here, supporting our local businesses."
The VITA tax site at United Way was made possible by the efforts of 26 volunteer tax preparers, all students from Binghamton University. These students underwent a rigorous schedule of trainings and examinations to become IRS-certified, and ultimately contributed more than 2,500 volunteer hours over the course of the tax season.
Some of the 26 VITA Tax Volunteers with United Way staff.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of these volunteers, United Way donors also received a huge return on investment: for every dollar invested in the United Way VITA site, $100.66 was returned to the community!