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Hudson - Litchfield News June 24, 2011 - 5

Free Tax Prep Programs Bring Millions of Dollars to NH Communities Granite United Way and AARP NH

Tax-Aide recently announced the results of their collaborative volunteer income tax assistance program this year. Free tax preparation was available from late January until the tax filing deadline in April. Over 7,000 NH residents received nearly $6,000,000 in income tax refunds, including $1 million in earned income tax credits. The IRS Volunteer Return

Preparation Program provides free tax preparation for families and individuals with low to moderate incomes. Trained volunteers are certified by the IRS to help individuals complete and electronically file their returns for free. This free service can save taxpayers hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees. Additionally, volunteers help taxpayers to understand and claim all credits and deductions available to them, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC was created to reduce the tax burden on lower-income workers and to supplement their wages. The credit can significantly increase an eligible family’s wages, an important step in establishing financial stability. Grants of $10,000 from the

Bank of America Charitable Foundation and $15,000 from the Walmart Foundation helped fund the effort in the Manchester, Derry, and Salem areas, along with support from the IRS and the AARP Foundation. Returns at these local sites, including Southern NH University, accounted for over $3.4 million in income tax refunds for working families and individuals—over $673,000 of which was EITC dollars.

Additionally, Granite United

Way provided the space for a Tax-Aide site in Concord and 2- 1-1 NH, a program of the United Ways of New Hampshire, made appointments for other Tax-Aide sites in Concord and throughout the Seacoast. The returns at these sites amounted to approximately $3.375 million in refunds with over $600,000 in EITC dollars. Granite United Way was also

the grant administrator and fiscal agent for the New Hampshire Statewide Earned Income Tax Credit Alliance. The Alliance includes The River Center VITA, Family Resource Center Gorham, Franklin Asset Building Coalition, Lakes Region Family Center, Triangle Credit Union, Concord Asset Building Coalition, and Whole Village Resource Center. The Alliance was awarded a $35,000 grant from the IRS to encourage free tax preparation at alliance locations in the state. The returns at these sites accounted for over $5 million in refunds for working families and individuals— $1.5 million of which was EITC dollars. “The value and importance of

active VITA programs in the local community cannot be overstated. The Earned Income Tax Credit and VITA programs increase financial stability and economic independence for many hard- working families in the community who may not have otherwise been aware of its benefit and help to stimulate our local economy as well,” said Patrick Tufts, President & CEO of Granite United Way. The EITC is the nation’s largest and most powerful anti- poverty program; larger than

the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamp Programs combined. Enacted by Congress in 1975 and significantly expanded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the EITC has helped tens of millions of Americans make the transition from public assistance to economic independence. Each year, the EITC raises the incomes of almost five million people above the poverty

line, half of whom are children; yet four million EITC-eligible families annually fail to file for the credit. Last year, Granite United Way funded programs served over 100,000 individuals, children, and families throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. For more information on Granite United Way and their community partners, please visit www.

Granite United Way is an

experienced and trusted organization dedicated to leveraging the resources of investors and volunteers to create lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of our community’s most pressing needs. Granite United Way is committed to improving the lives of individuals and families by supporting programs in the areas of education, income, and health.

Granite United Way works with over 1,000 companies, 25,000 investors, and thousands of volunteers every year to make our communities a better place. Granite United Way serves the Southern (Manchester/Derry/Salem), Merrimack County, North Country, and Upper Valley Regions of NH and VT, as well as Southern Windsor County, VT.

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