Faces of Success: Ethel Hall
FREE. It’s a four letter word that everybody loves. We all maximize opportunities to take advantage of freebies. Ethel Hall really appreciates them, especially during tax season.
“My husband and I used to go to a paid tax service provider every year,” said Hall. “We’d pay a couple hundred dollars to have our taxes done. It makes a huge difference when you aren’t earning a lot of money.”
Hall saw a newspaper advertisement about the free tax preparation services offered through United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program six years ago. She wanted more information, so she called United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline.
“The 2-1-1 Helpline was a great resource to help us find the VITA location at Woodbine,” said Hall. “Our first experience there really went well.”
After that initial experience, Hall and her husband stopped paying to file their tax returns. They kept coming back to the Woodbine VITA Free Tax Prep Site every year for one very important reason.
“It’s free; I’ve never had a bad experience at this location. The VITA volunteers I’ve encountered over the years have always been friendly and helpful,” said Hall.
This tax season, more than 200 IRS-certified VITA volunteers are utilizing their knowledge and expertise to file free tax returns for households earning less than $62,000 in 2015. Last year, they filed more than 14,500 free tax returns and saved hard-working Middle Tennesseans almost $3.8 million in filing fees. VITA volunteers also returned more than $23 million in refunds and credits back to the community in 2015. In Hall’s case, every little bit helps.
“I live on a fixed income; I’m 75 and when you get to my age, free is always good. I know these volunteers are going to take care of me, and I will receive great service.”
Hall is now a widow and has recently experienced some unexpected expenses. She plans to put this year’s tax refund to good use.
“I need some new tires for my van. I’ll also put money into my savings account to help cover some of my living expenses.”
United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline and the VITA Free Tax Prep program, powered by United Way, are a couple of easy freebies for qualified residents. Ethel Hall certainly has a deeper appreciation for them.