RENO — Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini, Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada and United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra (UWNNS) will attend a recognition celebration Wednesday to honor volunteers of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).
VITA is a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service, UWNNS’ “Earn It, Keep It, Save It” program and the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada. This past year, 158 VITA volunteers provided free tax preparation services to families in northern Nevada that earn $50,000 or less annually. The average income of the families served was $22,000. Each volunteer is a trained and certified tax preparer.
VITA sites and volunteers are an important way for low-income working families to learn about and access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Each year, thousands of Nevadans miss out on the EITC because they don’t know they qualify for or don’t know how to claim the credit. EITC is a federal income tax credit available to working individuals and families. Eligibility for the EITC is based on income level, marital status and number of dependent children. As an individual or family’s earned income rises, the amount of EITC they are eligible for also rises, providing an incentive to obtain and maintain employment. The amount begins to decrease as an individual or family reaches an income level that allows them a measure of self-sufficiency.
This year, VITA volunteers helped prepare 2,926 tax returns that resulted in northern Nevadans receiving a total of $1.08 million in EITC, more than $3.9 million in total tax refunds and more than $1.9 million in total tax credits. VITA volunteers collectively provide one of the largest economic impacts for the local community and on average, each volunteer hour brings back $1,500 to the community in tax credits.
VITA sites were located in Washoe, Douglas, Carson, Lyon, Storey, Mineral, Humboldt and Pershing counties.