Community Impact Financial Stability Pathway Faces of Success: The Bridges Family
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Title Financial Stability Pathway

Faces of Success: The Bridges Family

Last March, Branson Bridges and his wife Deanna were searching for some financial flexibility.

“I was in the middle of transitioning to a new career, and we were looking into childcare for our daughter,” said Bridges.

The couple wanted to maximize their tax refund; they considered paying to have their tax returns prepared and filed. Thankfully, a family friend had a better suggestion: United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Free Tax Prep program.

“They referred us to United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline, and that’s how we discovered we qualified for the VITA Free Tax Prep program.”

The VITA Free Tax Prep program provides free income tax preparation to individuals and families who earned less than $62,000 in 2015. IRS-certified volunteers ensure clients receive all of the tax credits and refunds they’ve earned.

“Our volunteer answered all of our questions and also informed us we qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. These credits helped cover childcare costs and also put food on our table.”

Every year, the combination of the Earned Income Tax Credit (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 the EITC, but the IRS estimates only 4 out of 5 taxpayers actually receive it.

“The VITA Free Tax Prep program is unique because the volunteers want to help clients. Not only did our volunteer help us receive the EITC and Child Tax Credit, she also found a mistake on our previous year tax return. We were able to amend it, and we received an additional $3,400.”

In 2016, United Way partnered to operate eight VITA Free Tax Prep sites in Nashville, including the Woodbine Super Site used by the Bridges Family.  Over the past six years, more than 73,000 clients have filed their tax returns through the VITA Free Tax Prep program. During this same time period, individuals and families have received more than $137 million in tax credits and refunds.

“The VITA Free Tax Prep program created an opportunity for us to have some financial flexibility during a difficult transition in our lives. It was the perfect program for us at the perfect time.”

The Bridges household is grateful for the tax advice they received from their family friend. It led them to the VITA Free Tax Prep program; next tax season is still more than four months away, but it’s never too early to learn about the important benefits of the VITA Free Tax Prep program.   

For more information about the VITA Free Tax Prep program, please visit:

To learn more about United Way's Financial Stability programs, click here.
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