United Way of the Piedmont saves local families thousands of dollars through tax prep program

Spartanburg, S.C. (May 10, 2017) – Every year, United Way of the Piedmont volunteers prepare tax returns free of charge for low- to moderate-income working families in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union counties through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). This tax season, United Way of the Piedmont reports that volunteers prepared 2,746 tax returns, totaling $3,979,284 in refunds.

Sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), VITA exists across the country, but is operated locally through the VITA Upstate Coalition which includes organizations such as United Way of the Piedmont (UWP) who coordinate the program throughout the Upstate. UWP alone managed 9 VITA sites with regular hours as well as 14 mobile locations in three counties where individuals and families could have their taxes done.

This year, any household making approximately $60,000 or less for the 2016 tax year was eligible to have their taxes prepared for free by a certified volunteer tax preparer. These volunteers also ensure that families receive all of the tax credits and deductions they are eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit for low- to moderate-income working families, particularly those with children. The EITC reduces the tax burden on these struggling families and can put thousands of dollars back in their pockets and back into the local economy. This year, those that used VITA to prepare their taxes and qualified for the EITC received $890,937 worth of the tax credit.

Heather Witt, VP of Community Impact at United Way of the Piedmont, says, “VITA is a huge resource to so many families in the community who might otherwise pay costly tax preparation fees that they truly cannot afford.” This tax season alone, families who used United Way of the Piedmont’s VITA services saved nearly $700,000 in tax preparation fees.

Since United Way of the Piedmont started its VITA program in 2004, volunteers have prepared 17,735 tax returns, totaling $20,602,717 in refunds.

About United Way of the Piedmont

United Way of the Piedmont is a local nonprofit that fights for the education, financial stability, and health of every member of our community. Our mission is to connect, engage and inspire people to transform our community. We are more than fundraisers. We forge unique partnerships, find new solutions to old problems, and mobilize the best resources by inspiring others to join the fight. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive.