CAPSAW tax assistance client becomes volunteer
In 2013, Melissa Wolcott decided she was tired of paying someone to do her taxes. She knew her tax return was simple, and she knew that any of her hard-earned money was too much to spare when a free service was available.
She visited the Valley VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site at stuarts draft high school and found the volunteers to be extremely knowledgeable, professional and helpful. Wolcott asked the volunteer preparing her taxes a lot of questions, which were welcomed and answered. Her last question was, “How do I become a volunteer?”
Wolcott completed the IRS sponsored training this winter and began serving as a VITA volunteer in February of 2014. In the first two weeks of this tax season Wolcott worked with 11 families to answer their questions and file their state and federal taxes for free saving an estimated $2,200 in preparation fees. The Valley VITA program currently operates four sites which are staffed by trained community members and Mary Baldwin College students. All told these volunteers, including Wolcott, have helped nearly 100 community members file for over $170,000 in Federal Returns saving an estimated $19,200 in fees.
This year clients at each site will have an opportunity to meet with trained financial educators through the Master Financial Educator program offered through the Extension Office with the support of capsaw and the United Way. Individual Development Accounts, a matched savings program, are being offered through the Staunton Creative Community Fund as well.
Valley VITA hopes to file a minimum of 250 returns this year for an estimated savings of $50,000 for working families and individuals with simple returns. Please contact Valley VITA by calling 540-221-1654 to determine how to meet your family’s tax needs. Appointments are available at each site through April.