WICHITA, Kan., Jan. 21, 2022 – United Way of the Plains has recruited nearly 200 volunteers to offer free tax return preparations again this year through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) initiative. The tax preparation and filing service is available at no charge to households making $60,000 or less annually. Tax filers must reside in the counties of Sedgwick, Butler, Cowley, Geary or Marion.
Last year, IRS-certified VITA volunteers filed 6,364 tax returns generating more than $7.6 million for the local economy that was and is still recovering from the negative economic effects of the pandemic. United Way of the Plains VITA program manager Colleen O’Callaghan expects similar numbers of people will take advantage of the service this year.
“For more than a decade, we’ve depended on volunteer site coordinators, greeters and certified tax preparers to prepare thousands of tax returns. We also depend on partners who provide the buildings, electricity and Wi-Fi for the tax preparation sites. Their collaboration has helped us extend our outreach and enhance the program’s impact. Our goal is to keep increasing the number of people we help every year.”
In-person and document drop-off appointments are now being scheduled by calling 2-1-1. Covid-related guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health orders will be followed at all tax preparation sites. A list of items that should be brought to tax preparation appointments can be found at unitedwayplains.org/taxprep. An online filing option is available beginning Jan. 31 through a secure portal with assistance from an IRS-certified tax preparer at GetYourRefund.org/BEST-UWP.
Income tax refunds are an important factor in the financial stability of many Kansans, especially with the employment issues and fiscal pressures they continue to experience during a worldwide pandemic in 2022. For many low-income and moderate-income families and individuals, an income tax refund helps make another mortgage payment, covers prescription costs or funds one more semester of college.
This free tax preparation service is offered through the Building Economic Stability Together (BE$T) Coalition of South Central Kansas, which was founded and is supported by the City of Wichita, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and United Way of the Plains. United Way of the Plains administers the IRS grant and coordinates the activities of the coalition.
Important dates and events:
- Friday, Jan. 28 – Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Kickoff, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Ascension Via Christi, 9727 E. Shannon Woods. Dial 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.
- Friday, Jan. 28 – National Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day (the premise for VITA)
- Monday, Jan. 31 – First day of appointments for tax preparation at VITA locations. Online tax preparation services go live at GetYourRefund.org/BEST-UWP.
- Monday, April 18 – Tax filing deadline
Learn more about the program at the website, unitedwayplains.org/taxprep.
MEDIA CONTACT: Angie Prather, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Community Engagement Officer, (316) 267-1321, email@example.com
United Way of the Plains is a nonprofit and for-impact organization that focuses on health, education, financial stability and basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Our mission is to improve lives by harnessing the caring power of our community to advance the common good in south central Kansas. Follow us on these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.