Faces of Success: Chalsey Meeks
Single mother Chalsey Meeks was looking for help covering child care costs and moving expenses this spring. Wanting to maximize her tax refund, she came to the United Way VITA Free Tax Prep site located at Sam Levy.
“My mom has been coming here for several years now. When I was old enough to do my own taxes, I came back because I remember it being such an easy and positive experience.”
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Free Tax Prep program provides free income tax preparation to individuals and families who earned less than $64,000 in 2016. Last year alone, 15,000 clients received free tax preparation and received nearly $24 million in tax refunds and $4 million in tax preparation fee savings.
“The volunteers here are so amazing. I messed up and didn’t bring all of my information with me when I first came in, but they were patient with me and helped me through the whole process.”
IRS-certified volunteers worked to make sure that everything on Meeks’ tax return was correct so that she would receive the credits and refunds that she earned. She also found out that she was eligible to receive important tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit.
“My daughter Alaina and I just moved into a new house, and thankfully these tax credits are helping me pay two month’s rent so that we can start saving. I’ve also had a bedroom set for my daughter on layaway, and I really want to surprise her. It would be amazing if my return could help me do that for her.”
The combination of the EITC and the Child Tax Credit lifts more than nine million people out of poverty annually, including five million children. Although millions of low- and moderate-income workers are eligible for the EITC, the IRS estimates only 4 out of 5 taxpayers actually claim it.
“I think people have a hard time believing that it’s actually free to get your taxes done here! I’ve had great experiences here and everything is legitimate. Don’t go through the hassle of paying for your taxes and come to VITA instead.”
If you are looking to maximize your tax return and you meet income qualifications, consider utilizing United Way’s VITA Free Tax Prep program to file your taxes. For more information about the VITA Free Tax Prep program, please click here.