It seems very fitting that the annual filing deadline for submitting income tax returns occurs in April, the same month as Volunteer Recognition Month, because without volunteers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in York County would not exist. SpiriTrust Lutheran® is grateful for the team of 46 dedicated individuals who committed to being trained as certified tax preparers, greeters and schedulers. Along with five SpiriTrust Lutheran team members these nearly four dozen volunteers donated more than 3,000 hours to serve 6,243 individuals though the preparation of 4,826 tax returns. Overall, the financial impact to the community was more than $8.6 million*.
An additional 459 returns were filed electronically through a link from the SpiriTrust Lutheran website.
When asked what she liked most about the program first year volunteer Mary Smith said, “I enjoyed interacting with all the people. I had a lot of laughs and caused a lot of laughs. I really loved serving everyone this year.”
“I am so proud of the SpiriTrust Lutheran team members and volunteers who worked together to provide this free service to more individuals and families in York County than any previous year in the history of the program,” said Kenneth Watts, director of Social and Specialty Services for SpiriTrust Lutheran. “I am also grateful for the in-kind contributions of space and financial support that we received from the community. Because of these commitments we were able to return more than $7.4 million dollars in federal tax refunds and more than $300,000 in state tax refunds to York County taxpayers. In addition, we estimate that more than $900,000 were saved in out-of-pocket expenses that would have been incurred had taxpayers paid for this free service.”
Tax preparation services were provided at eight locations throughout York County, including four in York – the SpiriTrust Lutheran VITA office on Roosevelt Avenue, United Way of York County and White Rose Credit Union branches on Industrial Drive and Rodney Road; Grace Fellowship Church in Shrewsbury; St. Paul Lutheran Church and White Rose Credit Union in Hanover; and White Rose Credit Union in Dallastown.
In addition to the in-kind contribution of space for tax preparation, United Way of York County donated $30,000, the IRS provided a $28,720 grant, PNC Bank donated $10,000 and York College of Pennsylvania provided space for volunteer training.