Charlottesville, VA –Local organizations partner to provide economically disadvantaged individuals and families free tax return preparation for tax year 2020.
Cville Tax Aid functions as an initiative of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville in partnership with Madison House Creating Assets, Savings and Hope (CASH) program. The program coordinates with IRS-trained student volunteers to offer free tax preparation and filing to area residents with household income less than $57,000 per year.
Since its inception, the program has provided over 22,500 returns, producing an economic impact of $37 million.
Typically, UVA Madison House provides over 180 volunteers who meet clients face to face. This year over 263 volunteers have been recruited and trained, however they are unable to meet with taxpayers in person due to safety concerns with COVID-19.
The move to a virtual platform has created a slower ramp-up to launching the program, which ultimately reduces the number of returns that may be prepared, particularly with the IRS opening date delayed until February 12.
In response, Hantzmon Wiebel LLP, a Charlottesville-based tax, accounting, and advisory firm, has committed to prepare a minimum of 100 tax returns during February to assist the program. Jennifer Lehman, CPA, CGMA, Partner, and CEO, says, “Historically, we have been financial supporters of Cville Tax Aid. This year, our team looks forward to rolling up our sleeves to make sure this program continues to meet the needs of as many as possible.”
The Tax Ladies have also joined in to aid the program. They will prepare 15 returns a week to help families and individuals in need.
Prior to COVID-19, Cville Tax Aid representatives anticipated assisting over 3,000 taxpayers in 2020 but completed less than 2,000 returns. Ravi Respeto, President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, says, “With a collaboration such as this, we hope to prioritize and serve our most vulnerable families to enable them to maximize their refunds to positively impact their household income.”
The economic impact of the Tax Aid program reaches beyond the funds participants receive from their tax returns. Government assistance programs often require applicants to provide a copy of their tax returns in order to receive aid.
Respeto says, “We do not want families that are suffering financially to resort to use of refund anticipation loans or paid preparation that significantly reduces their much-needed refund.”
Those in need of the program can contact Cville Tax Aid to make an appointment. For more information on Cville Tax Aid visit www.unitedwaycville.org/cvilletaxaid.
About the United Way of Greater Charlottesville