Tax season can be challenging for anyone but it’s especially hard for low- to-middle income residents who can’t pay for professional services. Businesses and other charitable organizations can help. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), Social Development Commission volunteers provide free tax preparation and other services to qualifying Milwaukee county residents. In compliance with a federal grant, the Social Development Commission is seeking $85,000 in matching funds. Businesses, foundations or other organizations looking to support this program during the 2016/17 tax season are encouraged to make donations now.
Donations toward matching funds will benefit recent program recipients like Eugenia E. who, about her VITA experience, said, “I came to have my taxes done last year and felt very privileged to have them done. The staff all were courteous, respectful, informative and very patient. In 2013, H&R Block charged me $350 and I cannot afford that fee.”
Financial donations ranging from $5 to tens of thousands are critical to support the operation of this valuable program. Matching funds allows a greater number of low and middle-income individuals and families to receive free tax service and retain crucial dollars within their household. Those interested in making a donation to help the VITA program reach its goal, can click on the “Donate/Volunteer” tab at www.cr-sdc.org or can contact VITA program manager Diane Robinson at 414.906.2804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SDC has prepared and filed tax nearly over 176,000 state and federal returns since it began operating the free tax service. More than $185 million in the form of refunds and tax credits has been returned to the Milwaukee economy through the program. The grant, awarded by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), requires SDC to provide matching funds for VITA. The SDC is appealing to organizations, foundations, and individuals in the community to support in SDC’s efforts to raise matching funds for this essential program.
Tax preparation and filing is only one component of VITA. Clients served by the program have the opportunity to participate in financial education workshops, one-on-one financial coaching, meetings with financial institutions to open new bank accounts, and are connected with traditional banking community and their services. VITA’s free service can save thousands of household hundreds of dollars often charged by commercial tax preparation operators.
SDC is also seeking volunteers to aid in the operation of the VITA program. Volunteers serve as tax preparers, intake specialists, greeters, quality reviewers, hotline representatives and office assistants. For detailed descriptions on volunteer positions, please visit cr-sdc.org/Programs/Support Services/Volunteer for VITA.
For more than 50 years, the Social Development Commission has operated as the Community Action Agency for Milwaukee County. SDC serves as a planner, coordinator, and provider of human service programs for low-income individuals and families residing in Milwaukee County. The agency is an intergovernmental commission and is governed by a board of 18 citizens from Milwaukee County, each of whom hold the title of “Commissioner.” For more information on SDC’s programs and services, visit cr-sdc.org. Connect with us on Facebook www.Facebook.com/SDCMilwaukee and Twitter www.twitter.com/CRSDC.