Citizens Bank Donates $50,000 to Help Individuals & Families with Free Tax Prep
Granite United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program opened for free tax preparation sites with the help of a $50,000 contribution from Citizens Bank to support the program. A formal check presentation launched the program on Friday, January 25, 2019 at NeighborWorks Southern NH in Manchester. The day also marked the nationally recognized Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Day.
This free tax preparation program is available to Individuals and families with household incomes up to $66,000 annually. Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers who assist low-to-moderate income residents of the state to access the greatest amount of refunds. Both Granite United Way and Citizens Bank share a common goal of encouraging financial stability and recognize the importance of programs like VITA to families and individuals.
The EITC is a support for working people who don’t make a lot of money. According to the IRS, about 1-in-5 eligible New Hampshire residents fail to file for the EITC, leaving an estimated $37 million unclaimed.
“One of Granite United Way’s initiatives that delivers the greatest impact is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This program has helped to lift more than 16,000 New Hampshire residents out of poverty on average over the past three years,” said Patrick Tufts, President and CEO of Granite United Way. “The support from Citizens Bank is critical in providing this free service to thousands each year. We are proud to partner with them in this effort to build financial stability across our community.”
“Citizens Bank is proud to partner with the Granite United Way in supporting the 2019 VITA Program,” said Joe Carelli, President, Citizens Bank, New Hampshire and Vermont. “While our communities continue to be noted as one the best in the country to live, we know that there are still many people living at the margins financially; inhibiting their ability to save for a home, a car, or even further their education. By partnering on the VITA program and providing both financial and volunteer support, we can help to build a path to financial sustainability for many Granite State residents.” stated Carelli.
VITA sites are in Salem, Manchester, Concord, Laconia, Franklin, Gorham, Littleton and White River Junction and Windsor County (VT). Additional sites including the Seacoast area and Peterborough. A ‘virtual’ VITA site is also scheduled to open this year in Plymouth.
Scheduling an appointment is simple. Those interested can go to NHTaxHelp.org or call 2-1-1 and schedule their appointment.
“Our volunteers are the backbone of this program’s success. They dedicate thousands of hours to providing tax preparation,” said Tufts. “They not only provide free tax preparation for VITA clients, they help them access some of the tax credits they may not have been aware of.”
VITA client Cassandra Tate knows first-hand how important the program can be.
“More people need to be aware of this program, and I often encourage everyone to look into it and take advantage of this service.” said Tate. “It was a simple call to 2-1-1 and I scheduled an appointment. I’ve used this program for a few years now and really appreciate the volunteers who help prepare the tax returns.”
Granite United Way also encourages self-filers with internet access and a household income up to $66,000 to take advantage of www.MyFreeTaxes.com. This provides access to filing software at no cost and a toll-free number to call for tax questions. It is sponsored by United Way Worldwide and H & R Block.
For more information on Granite United Way’s VITA program, contact Cary Gladstone, Senior Director of Asset Building Strategies at 603.625.6939 x 128.
The VITA program is a partnership with United Way, Citizens Bank, the IRS and AARP Foundation Tax Aide.