United Way of Summit & Medina brought in more than $3.2M in refunds for local filers this tax season

May 2, 2024

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program saved Summit and Medina County residents more than $500,000 in filing fees.

Trained volunteer tax preparers completed 2,258 tax returns for Summit and Medina County residents through United Way of Summit & Medina’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program this tax season. An additional 75 returns were completed through the organization’s free self-file software. In total, the program helped residents claim $3,193,335 in refunds.

United Way of Summit & Medina’s VITA program provides free tax preparation services to households in Summit and Medina counties with a household income of $64,000 or less. And because commercial tax preparation can be expensive, costing an average of $250 per return, United Way’s free VITA service helped residents save more than $500,000 in 2024.

Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers, who can help clients take advantage of programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2024, 60 volunteers provided 2,572 hours of service through VITA. Since it launched in 2018, the program has helped local residents claim more than $17 million in state and federal income tax refunds and save more than $2.5 million on the cost of commercial tax preparation.

“A major focus of this year’s VITA efforts was increasing accessibility,” said Malinda Sampsell, associate vice president for financial stability and health at United Way of Summit & Medina. “By partnering with organizations like the City of Akron, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, the International Institute of Akron and Greenleaf Family Center, we were able to provide services in more neighborhoods and reach out to populations like those with limited English proficiency and the deaf and hard of hearing.”

For residents who want guidance on how to best utilize their tax refunds, United Way of Summit & Medina also provides free one-on-one financial counseling. Offered through the Akron and Medina Financial Empowerment Centers, financial counseling helps residents build a sustainable budget, save, reduce debt and raise their credit scores. This service is free and available to residents of Summit and Medina counties. Simply visit www.uwsummitmedina.org/fec or dial 211 to set up an appointment.

“A tax refund can be a significant financial lifeline for many residents in our community,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. “It can also be a first step toward long-term financial empowerment. By situating VITA within an ecosystem of supportive services, like our free financial counseling and our Family Resource Centers, we’re working to help residents build lasting stability.”

In our community. With our community. For our community.

Invest where it matters

Your donation directly benefits the people of Summit & Medina counties.

Share This