For eight years local resident Chuco Waddell had helped low-income residents of Hayden-Winkelman – generously volunteering his time and tax preparation skills as a VITA volunteer.
Local officials invite you to join them at the Hayden Senior Center Wednesday, Oct. 23, for 11 a.m. coffee and light refreshments – and chance to salute Chuco, meet other members of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance team – and learn how this innovative program helps local residents. All are welcome!
Good With Numbers? Volunteer with VITA!
Consider this as a volunteer assignment – a ‘desk job’ helping low-income Gila County residents with paperwork, scheduled around availability – and be part of an elite team helping secure more than $1 million for taxpayers in the community.
And no, those interested don’t have to a tax expert to join the Community Action Program’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) team.
“A new volunteer only needs to be friendly and willing to learn,” said Dorine Prine, “no special experience is necessary -- training is provided for free, and at the volunteer’s own pace. Once the training is completed, a VITA volunteer takes an open-book test to become IRS certified to prepare income taxes for low income clients. Our volunteers contribute as many hours as they have available, and on a schedule that is convenient to them.”
Wonder if it’s meaningful work – with a measurable benefit in the community? Prine reports Gila County’s VITA team completed 758 income tax returns last year, 249 in Globe; 431 in Payson and 78 in Hayden. They helped secure a total amount of refunds of $1,107,363 and since their service is free, that saved low income taxpayers more than $265,000 they would otherwise have paid in tax preparation fees, money they could use for groceries, car payments, utility bills or other daily essentials.
“And its definitely a fulfilling way to volunteer,” said Prine. “VITA volunteers have told me they take satisfaction helping hard-working low-income clients receive the full amount of their tax refund, and avoid predatory lenders. They enjoy knowing this is a way to help make their community a better place. Some even volunteer in order to learn a trade they will be able to use in the future – and volunteering is a great asset to add to your resume.”
If you want to know more about VITA, or join the team, contact Dorine Prine, Program Coordinator for Gila County Community Action Program at
[email protected] or call her at 928-474-7192.