Friday, February 4, 2011

VITA Press Conference

On January 28th, we hosted a press conference in conjunction with the NWA Financial Sustainability Coalition at the JTL Shop in Springdale. Nationwide many other organizations also participated in raising awareness for tax literacy for the EITC Awareness Day. Our press conference discussed our VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program) and the Earned Income Tax Credit efforts going on in our community.

We are so grateful for the many people who attended this event including some of our partner agencies and coalition members: Arkansas Advocates for Children & Familes, the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service, Legal Aid of Arkansas, the NWA Tax Center, the Office of Human Concern and the AARP. None of the VITA efforts would be possible without the support of each of them and we commend the outstanding efforts that strengthen our community.

The United Way of Northwest Arkansas is honored to have been selected as 1 of 96 United Way led tax initiatives nationwide this year through a grant provided by the WalMart Foundation and their partnerships with One Economy and the National Disability Institute. This grant has provided us with the opportunity to bring more awareness of these free nationwide tax initiatives here to NWA. The VITA program offers taxpayers who have made less than $49,000 in 2010 the opportunity to have their taxes prepared free of charge. It also encourages taxpayers to learn more about the earned income tax credit and the benefits it can provide to those who qualify.

Our program is community-wide in the Benton, Washington, Madison and Carroll counties. By offering free tax preparation sites, literature, and tax appointment scheduling through our 211 service these partnerships are making a positive impact this tax season. This year we have been very fortunate to allow easy access for taxpayers wanting to setup appointments by utilizing our 211 resource hotline. Individuals can simply call 211 and will be connected with our representative who can schedule their tax appointment at partnering tax site locations in these four counties.

We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service, and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for speaking at the event and providing in depth knowledge on the impact this program is making! We look forward to our continued cooperation in this effort!

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