The Kenosha County Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program issued the following statement regarding it’s just completed tax season:
Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief now that April 15, or “Tax Day” is over. For more than 1,300 people in Kenosha County this tax season was a bit less stressful after having their state, federal and homestead returns completed with the help of local certified volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The VITA program is a community initiative led by United Way of Kenosha County, in collaboration with Carthage College, the Kenosha County Job Center, Gateway Technical College, Guaranty Bank, Tri-City National Bank, US Bank and other local partners. The program offers free tax preparation to low-and moderate-income families and individuals throughout Kenosha County, ensuring that they receive all tax benefits for which they are eligible, most importantly the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which has been recognized as the single most powerful tool to lift children out of poverty. This year, tax assistance was offered at multiple locations throughout Kenosha County: the Kenosha County Job Center, ELCA Outreach Center, Community Library-Salem, Community Library-Twin Lakes and Central High School. Reaching record numbers, 89 volunteers helped Kenosha County residents prepare 2,388 federal and state returns bringing back $1.745 million dollars in refunds! Returns varied in difficulty from basic to advanced, and there were preparers available to help with all levels. By the end of the season, volunteers had logged 2,183 hours. In an effort to expand financial education during this “money moment” time of year, United Way worked to provide numerous resources to inform participants about saving, budgeting and avoiding risky financial behavior. Financial institutions like Guaranty Bank were on-site to help open checking and savings accounts for VITA clients. Additionally, representatives from the Kenosha Community Healthcare Center and R&B Solutions were on-hand during the VITA sessions to answer questions and assist people with signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. If you have yet to complete your taxes, there is good news – United Way of Kenosha County’s free online tax site will remain open until October 2014. Anyone with a household income under $58,000 is eligible to use this service by simply visiting www.kenoshaunitedway.org/VITA.