Sheila's Story - VITA Means Extra Money for Families
For more than 10 years, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a partnership between Metro United Way and the Louisville Asset Building Coalition, has helped families prepare their taxes at no cost and also claim valuable tax credits they are eligible for such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).
For families in our community, that means extra money to provide for their families' needs and increasing financial stability that has benefits that ripple throughout our community.
Sheila came to one of our VITA volunteers in the summer of 2016 requesting help in filing her taxes for the previous three years. She worked full time and had historically filed as a single person with no dependents and was expecting little or no refund, and thought she might even owe taxes.
As it turned out, she is a single mother of two children that couldn't be claimed by anyone else on tax returns. Our volunteer tax preparer recommended that she file as "Head of Household" which increased her standard deduction and reduced her taxable income and to also take advantage of exemptions for her children. This allowed her to access the Child Tax, Additional Child Tax and Earned Income Tax Credits.
The best part? She was entitled to more than $15,000 in refunds for the past three years!
"I've been involved with VITA for over a decade and it still amazes me that people do not understand the impact of children on their income taxes," said the volunteer that helped Sheila.
If you or someone you know needs help with their taxes, call 2-1-1. Free tax preparation and financial literacy services are available for qualifying individuals and families in our community. You can also text your zip code to 8982111 or visit metrounitedway.org/211