Volunteers make VITA a success!
More than 15,500 tax returns prepared by 565 volunteers. 20,234 volunteer hours logged at 28 sites across Greater Atlanta’s 13 county region. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program was a success again this year, resulting in more than $15 million in refunds and tax preparation fees. It’s in the program’s name, so it shouldn’t be surprising. VITA was a success because of volunteers dedicated to the well-being of Greater Atlanta families.
Why do we need VITA?
Forty percent of families in the Greater Atlanta area are classified as low income, meaning their wages most likely do not cover basic needs, even though many work over 50 hours a week. Too many of these hard-working families pay hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees and fail to claim the important Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Moderate to low income families lack access to a certified and IRS trained tax preparer with special emphasis on ensuring important tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Education Credits are received by every eligible person, and many do not have access to important asset-building information and tools. That’s where VITA steps in.
VITA’s driven by volunteers.
Since 2012, United Way has led the VITA coalition in Greater Atlanta to provide free tax preparation services to families with moderate to low incomes. Without volunteers, VITA wouldn’t happen. Even high school students step up to volunteer. Led by teachers Michael DeVault and Katy Rathke, Osborne High School students who are enrolled in an Entrepreneurship class receive IRS tax preparation training and take a certification exam. After the exam, students are assigned job roles such as tax preparer, tax assistant, scheduler and administrative assistant. Through VITA, Osborne High School students provide an important service for working families in Greater Atlanta. They also gain job skills and build financial literacy, which will help them as they prepare to graduate high school and venture into the working world.
Thank you, volunteers.
Volunteers make VITA. Thank you to the 565 volunteers who dedicated their time and talent to help families across Greater Atlanta. You’re making an impact as part of the nearly 15,000 volunteers that have volunteered with United Way of Greater Atlanta – just this past year – for families across our region.