As of early 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of many Americans.
One mandate that was not wiped out by COVID-19, however, is the obligation to pay income taxes.
Some people find it easy to prepare their own tax return. For others, it’s a complicated task that requires outside help.
However, accountants and accountants can be expensive and unaffordable for families and low-income individuals. That’s why it’s nice to have the Lifeline Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in our region. Lifeline VITA provides free services to its needy residents of Lake and Geauga Counties each year.
Lifeline Inc., based in Lake County, recently closed its 2021 tax season with the best ever results, according to the agency’s administration.
The final statistics of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for the 2021 tax season show that 265 residents had their taxes drawn up in a Lifeline VITA tax clinic and 52 of them received the income tax credit.
Total revenues from Lifeline’s VITA clinics were $ 277,089, more than $ 90,000 more than in the 2020 tax season, officials confirmed.
“We’re really excited about the number of people we’ve helped with free tax preparation services this season – most of whom we’ve ever supported in a single season and at a time when we know so many families are due to have been in financial trouble from COVID -19, ”said Carrie Dotson, executive director of Lifeline.
Lifeline had anticipated a higher number of customers at VITA clinics because so many AARP tax help sites were either closed or restricted by social distancing guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We knew we had to fill the void and we must thank our partners at United Way of Lake County,” said Dotson. “They provided immediate financing for our VITA program so that we could meet this increased demand this season.”
Jennifer McCarty, CEO of UWLC, said the nonprofit is excited to support Lifeline’s program.
“We know how important this service is to so many people in our community, especially our low-income residents,” she said. “Free tax preparation by trained volunteers alleviates the stress for so many people, especially given the added stressors associated with the recent global pandemic.”
Lifeline uses volunteers who have been trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service as part of its VITA program. According to the agency, volunteers donated 463 hours to the program during the 2021 tax season.
“It always pays to help taxpayers take advantage of various tax breaks, such as z,” said Tiffany Menosky, Lifeline program coordinator. “The season was not without its challenges, as we had a late start and saw a tax law change in the middle of the season and an extension until the end of the season.”
Menosky praised the Lifeline VITA volunteers for their commitment.
“They have been great this year and ready to meet our customers face-to-face at a very challenging time,” she said. “I cannot thank our volunteers enough for their support and enthusiasm.”
Lifeline has hosted VITA Tax Clinics since 2010 and has prepared applications for 1,808 residents during this time. Over the past 12 years, volunteers have worked 4,715 hours and raised $ 2,272,357 in revenue for residents of Lake and Geauga counties.
“In addition to the opportunity to provide this aid to families and individuals who have gotten into financial difficulties due to COVID-19, this year was also an important year for our VITA program as we raised more than 2 million US dollars this year. Dollars in income, ”said Dotson. “For a program that is entirely volunteer-driven, that’s an amazing amount of money that will come back to our community.”
The News-Herald believes that the Lifeline VITA program plays a key role in ensuring that families and low-income individuals receive the support and advice they need each year during the tax season. Thanks to Lifeline VITA, these people can fulfill their tax declaration obligations and secure the reimbursements to which they are entitled.
Lifeline VITA is clearly an enormous common good.