WHAT WE DO

About Financial $tability Partnership™

United Way’s Financial $tability Partnership™ was created to strengthen communities by identifying and tracking the underlying causes of the financial hardships facing today’s families. United Way brings together cross-sector partners to help lower-income individuals and families achieve financial independence by empowering them with the tools and skills necessary to maximize their income, build savings and gain assets.

The more individuals and families know about credit and banking services, the more likely they are to save, gain assets, and improve their financial health and well being. For that reason, financial education is a key component of many financial stability strategies. Increasing financial literacy is an integral component of helping individuals and families achieve financial stability and independence.

 

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

What is the VITA program?
United Way of the River Cities, in partnership with IRS and local nonprofit organizations, is coordinating free income tax preparation for low- to middle-income families at a variety of physical locations and online during the 2016 filing season.

WHat do tax volunteers do?

What do VITA volunteers do?
IRS-certified volunteers file federal and state returns electronically at no charge to the taxpayer. There are four possible jobs for volunteers:

 

  • Volunteer Tax Preparers meet with taxpayers and prepare basic tax returns using TaxWise online software, then file them electronically.
  • Greeters oversee client sign-in, assist clients in completing the Intake sheet and direct them to complementary services where available.
  • Quality Reviewers review all tax returns completed by Volunteer Tax Preparers at the tax site, ensuring that every customer visiting the site receives top-quality service and that the tax returns are error-free.
  • MyFreeTaxes Guides help guide taxpayers through filing their own returns via website. The MyFreeTaxes.com website is for individuals who want to prepare their own taxes online. Tax law experts are available by phone or chat to ask questions when needed, so the Guide doesn’t need to answer tax questions.

Do I need to be a “math” person to volunteer as a Tax Preparer? Not at all. All the math is done by computer. You need to like to meet new people, pay attention to details and be able to think logically; so that you get the information you need to complete the return. You also need basic computer and typing skills. Plus, we have calculators!

How do I get the training and take the certification tests? We provide in-person tax training in January for all potential volunteers. You can also use the IRS Link and Learn site (apps.irs.gov/app/vita/) to study online whenever you like. You must be certified by the IRS at the Advanced level to be a Preparer or Quality Reviewer, which involves passing a test online either during training or on your own time. Greeters and Guides only need to pass an ethics test.

How much time am I expected to volunteer? Volunteer Tax Preparers and Quality Reviewers are asked to commit at least ten hours a month for the three-month tax season (30 hours total, mid-January to mid-April), and most volunteer one or two sessions a week (three to four hours each). You can be flexible and volunteer at different sites as your schedule permits. You can sign up for the shifts and locations that are most convenient. Greeters and Guides are asked to work in three to four hour shifts, for at least four shifts over the season.

What if I make a mistake? No one’s perfect, but you will be well-trained and there are several checks on your work. The tax software catches most errors, and each return is reviewed by another trained person before it is actually filed. As a VITA volunteer, you are protected from any liability for any mistakes you make.

How long does it take to prepare a return? Most returns can be completed in a half-hour or so, after you get oriented to the software. Returns for taxpayers who have multiple employers or many dependents, child care expenses and education credits may take longer. Careful preparation is more important than speed. You want to make sure that the taxpayer reports income and deductions accurately, pays only what he/she owes, and gets the maximum refund for which he/she is eligible.

Why is this free tax preparation program important? You are directly helping people who don’t make a lot of money to get what they’ve earned. Even if a taxpayer isn’t eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you have saved them hundreds of dollars in preparation fees. And if you have filed for the EITC for someone who would otherwise have filed a 1040-EZ and missed this credit, your work may add up to $6,242 more to their pocket. Think what difference that could make for a family trying to buy their first house, pay off bills or even afford household necessities.

Click Here for 2016 VITA Volunteer Packet
Click here to sign up to be a volunteer


Financially Fit in the River Cities

The Financial Stability Partnership™ of the River Cities is excited to offer employer-based Financial Literacy courses in our community. Thanks to a generous grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, it provides financial education to workplaces throughout our service area. Sessions can be tailored to fit the needs of the employees and the employer. Topics include, but are not limited to, budgeting, banking and borrowing basics, understanding credit, savings and investments, and home ownership. If you or your organization is interested in participating in this opportunity, please contact Ed Davis at ed.davis@unitedwayrivercities.org or call 304.528.8929 ext. 103.


Young Bankers Club

The Young Bankers Club is a great opportunity to volunteer in the community and to assist our children with understanding the importance of financial literacy.

Children who learn at an early age about finances and personal responsibility have valuable tools that will last a lifetime. That’s why Fifth Third Bank developed The Young Bankers Club — a unique hands-on financial literacy program geared toward fifth grade students. Youngsters learn first-hand the importance of saving and becoming educated consumers, while being mentored by banking professionals and dedicated community volunteers.

 

Success Stories

 

Community Involvement

 



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