Re-VITA-lize Athens by Volunteering to Prepare Taxes
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program needs volunteers ATHENS, Ga. (November 20, 2014) –Action Ministries Athens will host a training session for volunteers willing to serve in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an IRS initiative that provides no-cost tax preparation to low-income, elderly, disabled and limited English-speaking taxpayers. No prior experience preparing taxes is required.
The training session, led by IRS professionals, will take place at Dawson Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will equip volunteers not only to prepare taxes for others, but possibly highlight opportunities to save money on their own taxes. The VITA program benefits the local economy by ensuring that financially vulnerable people submit accurately prepared tax returns, which often opens up disposable income for their families.
In 2013, volunteers at two sites managed by Hancock Community Development Corporation, Georgia United Credit Union and The College of Family and Consumer Sciences assisted 1,200 individuals in Athens—resulting in refunds totaling more than $2 million. After a successful pilot during last year’s tax season, Action Ministries determined to continue this critical service, as their downtown location at N. Lumpkin Street adds increased accessibility for participants and can help meet the significant demand for this economic opportunity in Athens. Interested volunteers can expect to serve from six to 12 total hours at the VITA site from Jan. 27 to March 4, 2015.
Action Ministries Athens has been a leader in serving low-income families and individuals for over 25 years. In seeking to mobilize communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education, Action Ministries, has worked in partnership with clients to lead people out of poverty through initiatives such as GED classes, technology training, counseling services, case management, financial literacy programs, the Smart Lunch Smart Kid summer feeding program and, the legacy program, Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen. However, VITA may prove to be a game-changer.
“Our goal is to continue educating our community in basic financial principles through existing programs and then to offer no-cost, accurate tax returns through VITA,” said Director of Programs Solomon Smothers. “A correctly filed tax return with a responsible financial plan could be the catalyst for a family to start clawing their way out of poverty.”
Partnering with Action Ministries Athens to provide this service to the community are Athens Area Community Foundation, Athens First Bank and Trust Company, First American Bank and Trust, BB&T, Hancock Community Development Corporation, Vickery Financial Services, the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Georgia Power and Bank South.
-30- About Action Ministries Athens
Action Ministries Athens is a program of Action Ministries, Inc., a nonprofit that provides an extensive network of community partners and volunteers with the tools and expertise to lead fellow Georgians out of poverty. By meeting basic needs of hunger relief, housing and education, Action Ministries removes barriers that prevent thousands of Georgians from breaking the cycle of poverty and realizing their potential. Our Daily Bread in Athens provides more than 60,000 nutritious meals with gracious hospitality annually to men, women and children in need and offers a gateway to other transformational services. Partnering with more than 70 volunteer groups, the program has served meals seven days per week, 365 days a year since 1989. For more information, call 706-353-6647 or visit www.athens.actionministries.net or www.Facebook.com/ActionMinistriesAthens.