A tax preparation service, set up by the United Way of Greater Kingsport, helped create 180 tax returns with more than $260,000 in refunds.
“It especially excites us when we can assist families whose income is stretched to be able to claim tax credits they’ve earned,” said Becca Sutphen, UWGK senior director of Community Impact.
The United Way partnered with the Kingsport Housing & Redevelopment Authority and the Urban League of Chattanooga for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The program is designated for those who had a household income less than $58,000 in 2021. The program concluded on April 14 as tax season came to a close.
Four volunteers dedicated more than 600 hours of time for the program, United Way officials said.
It was the third year United Way offered the free tax service. It had previously been offered by the Kingsport Housing & Redevelopment Authority.
“We have seen an increase in the number of people who have moved into the area from out-of-state who utilize the services of VITA,” said Mike McIntire, site coordinator for the Kingsport VITA program. “We continue to serve a wide variety of folks from across our region and I think we make a positive difference in many of their lives.”
McIntire has served all three years as the main point of contact for the Kingsport VITA program.
“I really find that I am possibly getting more out of volunteering than the recipients of service,” he said. “The appreciation in the eyes of the recipients really warms my heart whether it’s here with VITA, out on my Meals on Wheels route, or at my church.”
Sutphen encourages people to volunteer next year.
“We know there are more people in the community who could benefit from this program in the future, and in order to do that, we always welcome new volunteers for the next tax season,” she said.