Tax prep program helped Tahoe locals file nearly $300K in returns | SierraSun.com

Tax prep program helped Tahoe locals file nearly $300K in returns

Special to the Bonanza

Tax time can be stressful for many local families: the costs related to tax preparation can put a family further behind financially, increasing tension and stress in the household.

In order to help support families, Tahoe Family Solutions annually sponsors a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site which offers free tax preparation to households with income under $54,000.

Having just completed its third straight year, the Tahoe Family Solutions VITA site has collectively claimed a total of $848,938 in refunds for clients — money that stays with local families and in the local economy. When the savings in tax preparation fees are included, the total economic impact of the program is estimated to exceed $1 million.

For the 2016 tax season, the Incline Village VITA site saw $292,265 claimed in state and federal returns — a 16% increase over the previous year — and 183 federal tax returns and 79 state tax returns were prepared.

A primary goal of the VITA program is to help families claim tax credits that they are entitled to and save in tax preparation fees. A total of $210,681 in federal and state tax credits were claimed by families at the 2016 Incline Village VITA site (a 27% increase from the previous year) and almost $50,000 in tax preparation fees were waived.

During the 2016 tax season, eight Certified Tax Preparers and one Greeter/Interpreter contributed a total of 330 volunteer hours over the course of the 26 days on which the site was open. This does not include an estimated 20 hours invested by each volunteer in orientation, training, studying of tax laws and passing IRS tax preparer certification tests.

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TFS is a nonprofit offering low/no cost services to children and families with a mission to provide key resources and enhance skills for families in the Tahoe Basin. The VITA program supports that mission by helping families obtain all of the tax credits and refunds that are available to them, without having to pay extra fees to get their taxes done.

This article was provided by Tahoe Family Solutions. For more information, contact Leslie Blunden, volunteer Site Coordinator, at 775-298-0204 or leslieb@tahoefamily.org.