Lifeline, Inc. closed its 2021 tax season with the best results ever, according to the agency's administration.
Final statistics for the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program for the 2021 tax season show that 265 residents had their taxes drawn up at a Lifeline VITA tax clinic and that 52 of them received the income tax credit, compared to 129 residents in 2020.
Total revenues from Lifeline's VITA clinics were $ 277,089, more than $ 90,000 more than in the 2020 tax season, officials confirmed.
“We are very excited about the number of people we have served with free tax preparation services this season – most of whom we have ever supported in a single season and at a time when we know so many families are due to have been in financial trouble from COVID -19, "said Carrie Dotson, executive director of Lifeline, adding that high demand was expected with so many AARP sites either closed or restricted by social distancing.
"We knew we had to fill the void and we have to thank your partners at United Way of Lake County," she said. "They provided immediate financing for our VITA program so that we could meet this increased demand this season."
Jennifer McCarty, CEO of UWLC, said the nonprofit is excited to support Lifeline's program.
"We know how important this service is to so many people in our community, especially our low-income residents," she said. "Free tax preparation by trained volunteers alleviates the stress for so many people, especially given the added stressors associated with the recent global pandemic."
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal credit for working families and low-to-middle-income individuals. Eligibility criteria include how much was earned in 2020 and how many children a person has.
Single adults and couples without children can also qualify for the credit, but families with children receive larger credits, the agency reports.
Lifeline uses volunteers who have been trained and certified by the IRS as part of its VITA program. According to the agency, volunteers donated 463 hours to the program during the 2021 tax season.
Program Coordinator Tiffany Menosky agreed that the program was a huge success this year thanks to volunteers and agency partners including the Perry Senior Center and the Wickliffe Family Resource Center.
“It is always worthwhile to help taxpayers take advantage of various tax breaks, such as: "Said Menosky. “The season was not without its challenges because we had a delayed start and in the middle of the season saw a tax law change and an extension until the end of the season.
"Without the commitment and commitment of our VITA volunteer group, I would not have been able to achieve all of this," she added. “You have been great this year and ready to meet our customers personally at a very challenging time. I cannot thank our volunteers enough for their support and enthusiasm. "
Lifeline has hosted VITA Tax Clinics since 2010 and has prepared applications for 1,808 residents during this time. Over the past 12 years, volunteers have worked 4,715 hours and raised $ 2,272,357 in revenue for residents of Lake and Geauga counties.
"In addition to the opportunity to provide this aid to families and individuals who have gotten into financial difficulties due to COVID-19, this year was also an important year for our VITA program as we raised more than 2 million US dollars this year. Dollars in income, ”said Dotson. "For a program that is fully volunteer-driven, that's an amazing amount of money that our community will get back."
VITA Tax Clinics were also supported by the Federal Community Services Block Grant.
Lifeline will be hosting VITA control clinics again from January 2022. While specific clinic details won't be available until December, Lifeline is already looking for volunteers interested in preparing taxes for the next season.
Anyone interested can contact Lifeline at 440-354-2148.
Visit www.lclifeline.org or Facebook for updated program and agency information.