More than ever, local families are struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, residents can receive valuable help this tax season through the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program operated by North Coast Opportunities (NCO) Volunteer Network. Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, also known as VITA—Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, helps hundreds of local families each year save on filing fees and maximize their returns.
To meet increased need, NCO is looking for volunteers to be Site Coordinators, Tax Preparers, Interpreters and Outreach volunteers at sites in Lakeport, Clearlake, Ukiah, and Fort Bragg starting February 1st. No experience is necessary to be a VITA volunteer. To sign up for a free training in January, fill out a volunteer application at www.volunteernco.org.
“Many workers pay tax preparers high fees and face excessive interest on refund anticipation loans,” said Kayla Harrison, VITA Program Coordinator. “Our tax assistance sites help families and individuals maximize their tax credits and use them to make ends meet or to save for the future.”
At local tax sites, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers work with families and individuals to help file their tax returns and ensure that they receive the tax credits for which they are eligible. In addition, some sites can direct their participants to no-fee bank accounts, credit repair services, or financial education classes.
NCO’s VITA is fiscally sponsored by United Way of the Wine Country and is part of a coalition of VITA programs spanning five counties in Northern California. The mission is to provide free tax preparation service to support the financial stability of working families and individuals. Last year, NCO VITA volunteers helped prepare more than 650 tax returns and brought in $800,000 in refunds to Lake and Mendocino Counties.
“We need students, retired businesspeople, all our community to step up now and volunteer to help families file their tax returns,” Harrison continued. “It is very rewarding to help a family get the refund they deserve. Lots of smiles and gratitude!”