For thousands of households across our region, accessing the right resources during tax season is critical in obtaining a full tax refund. The simple truth is that when taxes are done right, the result could mean valuable tax credits and refunds that go a long way in a family’s annual budget.
According to the IRS, approximately 20% of residents do not claim one of the biggest boosters to family incomes – the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable credit that can amount to as much as $6,143 per qualifying family- simply because they are unaware of their eligibility, or do not file their taxes.
United Way of Kern County has run many resourceful programs throughout the years to help the community. One of those is the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. This program falls under the United Way of Kern County financial stability department, which is a free income tax assistance program that has granted low-income families and single individuals the option of not having to pay for such an expensive service, while still receiving quality work.
UEI College in Bakersfield has partnered with United Way this year to serve as a site for VITA. Stephanie Chambers, an instructor in the Business Office Administration (BOA) program at UEI College, led a group of six students who underwent training to be volunteer tax preparers for the VITA program.
“I am so proud of the students who got involved with VITA,” Stephanie said. “Thank you for participating in this great service to the community.”
“The VITA program not only helps low-to-moderate income families file their taxes for free but also allows them to claim the tax refund they earned. The program also gives our volunteers an opportunity to develop new skills and build a relationship with their community. It’s an amazing opportunity to take advantage whether you are a recipient of the service or the one providing it. It is amazing to see how powerful this program can be and the lives it impacts every year. We thank UEI College for partnering with us this year,” said United Way of Kern County’s Financial Stability Manager, Annelisa Perez.
Remaining dates available for VITA at UEI College include April 6 and April 13. To make a free appointment for tax assistance visit https://go.oncehub.com/UEICollege.