Faces of Success: Pat Callahan
It begins with diaper changes; mix in temper tantrums and the dreaded teenage years, and mothers and fathers are totally exhausted by the time their child reaches adulthood. These experiences are even more stressful for single parents who raise their children and work full-time to support them. The process becomes a difficult balancing act for parents like Pat Callahan.
“I think single moms are under an awful lot of stress and they can overlook things at times,” said Callahan.
Callahan — a single mother whose children are now adults — heard about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, powered by United Way, while she was listening to the radio last year. It allows IRS-certified volunteers to file free returns for individuals and families earning less than $62,000 in 2015.
“In the past, I always paid to have my income taxes filed. The VITA service is free and easy; what more can you ask for?”
Callahan was fortunate to receive credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) through her paid provider, but that’s not always the case. IRS-certified VITA volunteers utilize their knowledge and expertise to ensure that qualified individuals and families receive the EITC, as well as all other benefits and credits they’ve earned.
In 2015, 200 VITA volunteers filed nearly 14,500 free returns for hard-working Middle Tennessee households. They returned more than $23 million in refunds and credits back to the community, including $6.9 million in EITC last year.
“Single moms need every penny,” said Callahan. “The EITC is something that people can count on to pay bills or help purchase food and clothing.”
Every year, the combination of the EITC and the Child Tax Credit lifts more than nine million people out of poverty, including five million children. Millions of low and moderate-income workers are eligible for this tax benefit, but some don’t even know it. The IRS estimates only 4 out of 5 eligible taxpayers receive the EITC. VITA volunteers can help more eligible individuals and families receive this transformative benefit.
“They take a great deal of time to make sure that you have everything you need to complete the process and that all of your information is correct. I think it’s a wonderful service,” said Callahan.
The free tax preparation services provided through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety experienced by all taxpayers, including single parents like Callahan. Rest a little easier this tax season; balance has been restored for thousands of Middle Tennesseans, thanks to United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.