Monica's Story: getting back on track with the help of VITA volunteers
Monica had a rough couple of years. She divorced, lost her job, was in the hospital for several weeks and had to sell her car in order to make her mortgage payment. While in the hospital, she received a letter from the IRS for not filing her taxes. In her attempt to go back to school to complete her degree, she was denied financial aid because of her tax issues. To complicate her situation even more, she didn’t have any money to pay a commercial tax service to help her fix her tax situation.
When she arrived at a United Way of Williamson County VITA free tax preparation site, she was desperate for help. Fortunately, VITA volunteers were able to help her resolve her situation by filing her taxes for the previous two years. Not only did those returns result in over $6,000 in refunds of which more than half was Earned Income Credit, she now had the financial resources available to increase her financial stability and allow her to work towards her college degree.
Maria's Story: when a client becomes a volunteer
Maria is a hard-working woman who moved to Texas to be closer to her family. For a number of years, she was employed at a local school district as an aide. It was through her job at the district that she learned about free tax preparation services offered in her community. Like many VITA clients, she appreciated the peace of mind knowing that her return was prepared accurately and professionally. She no longer needed to rely on family members to help her navigate the filing process.
The next year Maria was one of the first people in line when "her VITA site" opened. It was a particularly rough year for her. She had lost her job after funding to school districts was cut. She was having trouble finding another job and desperately hoping to keep her little apartment. She knew she needed help with her return, but did not have the resources to pay for it. With the help of her VITA volunteer, she received a refund of over $4,000 of which $2,500 was a direct result of the earned income tax credit. She would have enough in the bank to allow her a little more time to find a new job.
Maria was so grateful that an organization like United Way of Williamson County was providing this much-needed service that she wanted to do something to show her gratitude. For the remainder of that tax season, Maria volunteered as a translator and greeter at her VITA site. Becoming a VITA volunteer allowed her to give back to the community, help others, and keep her spirits up while she continued to look for work.