During the 2023 tax season, United Way of Summit & Medina’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program completed 1,792 tax returns, helping residents claim $2,380,639 in state and federal tax refunds. In addition, this year, the program helped residents save an estimated $448,000 on the cost of commercial tax preparation.
United Way of Summit & Medina’s VITA program provides free tax preparation services to households in Summit and Medina counties with an income of less than $60,000. And because commercial tax preparation can be expensive, costing an average of more than $200 per return, United Way’s free VITA service ensures that residents keep their whole refund. Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers, who can help clients take advantage of programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2023, 64 volunteers provided 2,540 hours of service through VITA.
Since it launched in 2018, the program has helped local residents claim nearly $14 million in state and federal income tax refunds and save more than $2 million on the cost of commercial tax preparation.
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 coaching. Offered through the Akron and Medina Financial Empowerment Centers, financial coaching 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.
“The average tax refund for a VITA client is more than the average monthly cost of rent in our community,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. “That money can give residents a head start on financial empowerment. We’re grateful for our VITA volunteers for providing this valuable service to our community.”