WICHITA, Kan., June 6, 2022 — The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) initiative, managed by United Way of the Plains, has established a new record in the value of returns processed by IRS-trained volunteers offering free tax return preparation. The program processed $7.6 million in returns last year. This year, 120 volunteers processed more than 5,500 returns valued at $7.9 million.

The VITA program volunteers assist families and individuals making $60,000 or less per year with filing their tax returns to ensure they receive the tax credits they’ve earned. Many individuals depend on their income tax refund to help with car repair bills, mortgage payments and other basic life necessities.

Colleen O’Callaghan, VITA Program Manager at United Way of the Plains has overseen the program for the past sixteen years. “Helping people access the money and tax credits they’re entitled to receive requires dedicated volunteers. We also rely on donations from our community partners who provide the buildings, electricity and Wi-Fi for our tax preparation sites. Collaboration makes it work. Adding more online tax preparation options was helpful this year for those who couldn’t physically visit our sites. Our goal is to increase our financial impact every year and so we’re very pleased that we topped last year’s record-breaking numbers.”

Since 2003, United Way of the Plains has partnered with the Building Economic Stability Together (BE$T) Coalition of South-Central Kansas to provide free tax filing services for low-to-moderate income individuals. Funded through an annual grant secured and managed by United Way of the Plains, the program is conducted locally by the BE$T Coalition of South-Central Kansas, which was founded and is supported by the City of Wichita, IRS and United Way.

Empowering adults with the tools they need to ensure fiscal security is an important component of the work done year-round by United Way of the Plains. Find out about financial stability programs and initiatives at unitedwayplains.org/financial-stability/. Learn more about free tax preparation services by following this link.

###

MEDIA CONTACT: Angie Prather, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Community Engagement Officer, (316) 267-1321, aprather@unitedwayplains.org

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.

RETURN TO NEWSROOM