Participating CUs Prepare Over 3,500 Returns for Low-Income Members
(April 16, 2009 – New York, NY) This tax season, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) worked closely with 16 credit unions to help low-income people across the country file their taxes for free. The coalition, which was made up of nine credit unions new to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and seven with previous experience, prepared more than 3,500 tax returns totaling over $5 million, including $2.5 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC). In addition to the returns, the Federation estimates that coalition VITA sites helped residents of low-income communities save nearly $400,000 in tax preparation fees.
|Members of Santa Cruz Community CU (Santa Cruz, CA), receive free tax preparations services from a credit union volunteer.
Participating credit unions in the Federation’s VITA coalition represented a wide spectrum of the Federation’s CDCU members as well as several of its Community Development Partner credit unions. Coalition members included : Alternatives FCU (Ithaca, NY); ASI FCU (Harahan, LA); Border FCU (Del Rio, TX); Communicating Arts CU (Detroit, MI); District Government Employees FCU (Washington, DC); El Futuro CU (Porterville, CA); Family FCU (Wilmington, CA); Halifax County Community FCU (South Boston, VA); Ka'u FCU (Na’alehu, HI); NRS Community Development FCU (Birmingham, AL); OUR FCU (Eugene, OR); Santa Cruz Community CU (Santa Cruz, CA); Tongass FCU (Ketchikan, AK); Triumph Baptist FCU (Philadelphia, PA); Winthrop FCU (Winthrop, MA); and Women's Southwest FCU (Dallas, TX).
“The Federation is proud to partner with the IRS to support and promote VITA sites at credit unions across the country,” said Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. “The credit unions participating in our coalition exemplify the mission of serving low- and moderate-income people, but many would have been unable to offer this important service to their communities without grant support from the IRS. These types of programs require significant staff time and many credit unions simply do not have the excess liquidity to support the added expense.”
“We commend the IRS for recognizing the value of credit union VITA sites and look forward to working closely with them in coming years to help even more low-income people retain their hard-earned cash,” added Rosenthal.
|Sharon Saulters (seated), Manager of Triumph Baptist FCU (Philadelphia, PA) with her credit union VITA volunteers.
Sharon Saulters, Manager of Triumph Baptist FCU (Philadelphia, PA,) echoed Rosenthal’s sentiments, “This was our first year running a VITA site for our community. We considered offering this service to our members previously, but we didn’t really have the expertise or the funding to do it. We are grateful to the IRS and the Federation for helping our credit union to provide this vital service to our members. Our one site alone has returned almost $100,000 to our community; and in this economy that is a major victory!”
VITA is a program of the IRS office of Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC). The coalition was made possible by a $125,000 grant from the IRS to the Federation, the only national tax coalition exclusively representing credit unions. As part of the grant, the Federation provided technical assistance and financial support to credit union VITA sites across the nation.
For more information about the Federation’s VITA Coalition or if you are interested hosting a VITA site in 2010, please contact Dan Apfel, Program Officer, at email@example.com , or (800) 437-8711 x220.
© 2009 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.