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Northern Nevadans received over $5.3 million thanks to free tax preparation

By Miriam Hodgman

uwlogoUNITED WAY NEWS RELEASE — During the 2014 tax season, the United Way-led Earn It-Keep It-Save It Coalition’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites processed over 4,000 tax returns that resulted in more than $5.3 million in refunds for northern Nevadans. VITA is a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Earn It-Keep It-Save It Coalition and the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada.

As part of the VITA program, individuals and families receive free help from certified tax preparer volunteers in filing their taxes and determining their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) eligibility, and other tax credits they may also be eligible for. Each year thousands of Nevadans miss out on the EITC because they don’t know they qualify or don’t know how to claim the credit. EITC is a federal income tax credit available to working individuals and families.

The IRS estimates that each year close to a million people don’t file federal tax returns, thereby forfeiting around $1 billion in refunds they were due – refunds that average several hundred dollars apiece.

VITA sites and events were held in Douglas County, Carson City, Elko County, Churchill County, Mineral County, Lander County and Washoe County. UWNNS also held its first-ever United Way Tax Day, a one-day free tax preparation event held at its office. This event resulted in 35 tax returns with more than $54,000 in tax refunds.

“The VITA program has become a crucial part of our community,” said Karen Barsell, chief executive officer and president of UWNNS. “This program has helped thousands of northern Nevadans receive tax refunds that are often used for basic needs including housing and food.”

UWNNS has successfully served northern Nevada for more than 70 years. (UWNNS) has completed an historic direction-setting effort to identify and concentrate on the most important social issues affecting individuals and families in the region. UWNNS has adopted the critical issue of “children reading at grade level” as its focus area moving forward. This adopted issue will allow UWNNS to better prioritize resources to address key issues in order to make the greatest impact and create lasting change. In 2014, UWNNS will reach the goal of $100 Million raised since we started in 1942. To celebrate this goal, we have established the $100 Million Club and invite you to join us. For more information, call 775-322-8668 or visit www.uwnns.org.

By partnering with dozens of organizations, the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada strengthens individuals and families in northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region by coordinating and promoting programs that support financial education, maximizing income, asset building and preservation, savings, establishing credit, debt reduction, public awareness, workforce development, home ownership, access to public and private benefits and entrepreneurship. One FSPNN subcommittee is the Earn It Keep Save It coalition. This volunteer group is made up of individuals representing several public and private organizations that are dedicated to Earned Income Tax Credit outreach, expansion and free tax preparation efforts.

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