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LUMBERTON, NC (1/26/2024) – The 2024 tax season is officially open and Lumber River United Way is pleased to announce that we are hosting a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program for the third year.  The IRS created the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in 1969 to assist taxpayers in the preparation and e-filing of their federal and state tax returns at no cost to the participant.  Taxpayers eligible for this service should have a household income below $57,000, be an elder, or have a disability.

Through VITA tax clinics, taxpayers will participate in a brief interview, be assisted in creating an IRS customer portal account, and have their tax documents scanned so that an IRS certified tax preparer volunteer can complete the return.  After the return is completed, the taxpayer can either log into the IRS’ website to review/sign and have their return e-filed, or they can schedule an appointment to meet with someone to review their return.

Community Engagement Manager, Margaret Crites said “In the first year of LRUW’s VITA program, we assisted 85 taxpayers and secured over $100,000 in refunds. That number grew to 134 in our second year, and we are expecting higher numbers this year. But, probably just as importantly, we saved our taxpayers upwards of $30,000 in fees they would have paid for tax preparation. VITA creates a pretty big economic impact on our community.”

Originally created with a grant through United Way of North Carolina, this year the program is supported through a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Crites says “I joke that I went into human services to avoid working with numbers, but I truly enjoy working with our participants.” Tax clinics have been scheduled throughout February and March at the new Lumber River United Way office located at 301 N. Water Street and the public libraries in Bladen and Hoke Counties. Participation is by appointment only.

A paper filed return can take 6 months or more for the IRS to process and issue a refund. Typically, a refund for an e-filed return is issued within 21 days.  By utilizing the VITA service, taxpayers will receive their whole refund rather than having a fee, of possibly several hundred dollars, deducted.

To learn more about the VITA program, please visit Lumber River United Way’s web site: https://www.lumberriveruw.org/ and call our office at 910 739 4244 to make an appointment.

About Lumber River United Way

We unite to create positive, lasting change for people in need. We are a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to solving the most pressing health and human service needs by assisting people in Bladen, Hoke, and Robeson Counties. We work every day to achieve our vision and mission by focusing on the three foundations for building better lives: Health, Education, and Financial Stability.

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