It has been another record year for the United Way of Northern Arizona’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This year, 113 IRS-certified volunteers filed 3,268 returns for residents of northern Arizona, an increase of 17 percent over last year.
The work done by VITA means that once again and ever increasing amount of money stays in the pocket of taxpayers. Total refunds were almost $4.5 million and total Earned Income Tax Credits were almost $2 million.
To get an idea of how much the program has grown, the refunds this year are more than twice what was generated back in 2010 when the total refunds were about $2 million and the EITC was just over $700,000.
One of the big reasons VITA is able to keep expanding is the growth of Scan2Go, where taxpayers can bring their paperwork to a VITA location to be scanned. VITA volunteers then complete the tax returns and arrange for them to be picked up or mailed to the taxpayer.
In fact, the UWNA was recognized by the IRS for its notable work in implementing the Scan2Go technology throughout the region. Three out of every four VITA tax returns in Flagstaff were Scan2Go. Meanwhile, tax returns done out of almost all of the Northland Pioneer College (NPC) campuses and centers were were “virtual” VITA.
Additionally, VITA volunteers were able to assist 71 clients in making “offers in compromise” on back taxes, helping successfully reduce their IRS debt by 98%.
Many thanks to our partners and sponsors during the tax crunch time including: the City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, Navajo County, Flagstaff Unified School District, Page Public Library, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, The Hopi Foundation, Wells Fargo, El Tapitio, Whole Foods, BBVA Compass, National Bank of Arizona, Bank of the West, Cuddle Outreach, St. Jude Food Bank and the Moenkopi Senior Center.
Congratulations to entire VITA team, Megan Good and UWNA Income Director Eileen Sherlock, who once again made this year’s VITA efforts a stunning success!