For the fifth year, United Way of the CSRA 2-1-1 collaborated with local agencies to provide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to the community. This grant funding is provided by Walmart Stores through United Way Worldwide and provides operational, administrative, and marketing support to maximize EITC awareness and benefits.
This year, three agencies: Action Ministries-Augusta, 30901 Development Corporation, and Augusta Technical College provided 13 volunteer tax preparers that completed 1,253 returns, an increase of 49.2% over the previous year. These skilled volunteers enabled clients to receive EITC benefits totaling $465,500 and total tax refunds including all tax credits of $1,238,985, an increase of 30% over the previous year.
The primary factors contributing to this program’s growth are outreach efforts to repeat clients, the use of social networking to promote the VITA program, and word-of-mouth marketing among family members and friends.
Two agencies reported that they served clients who are now able to put a down payment on permanent housing, thanks to the EITC benefit and their income tax refund.
United Way of the CSRA 2-1-1 looks forward to applying for this grant funding again for 2014, expanding this benefit to additional counties serving the more rural population of the CSRA. United Way hopes to expand the outreach of this program through an increased use of social media and the development of a self-tax preparation aspect of volunteer income tax assistance.
Thank you to our VITA partners and to the many volunteers involved in this project.