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United Way Program Assists Low Income Families in Upcoming Tax Season

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Assistance for the 2017 tax season is available January 29 - April 17, 2018. Assistance for the 2017 tax season is available January 29 - April 17, 2018.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A tax preparation program is helping hundreds of low-income families in Central Virginia file their taxes for free. Central Virginians with a household income of less than $55,000 are eligible for free assistance thanks to the United Way Thomas Jefferson Area.

With over 200 volunteers, the United Way Free Tax Preparation program is celebrating its tenth anniversary. 

The program collected over $32 million in combined refunds over the past ten years. 

“The program helps low income families that don’t have to pay for a return and then they make sure that they get all the credits due to them, so they’re getting the accurate refund,” said United Way tax program supervisor Laura Groff. “They’re getting the most refund that they are due and then the money stays here in the community.”

This free tax preparation program relies on the work of more than 200 community volunteers, many of whom are University of Virginia students. Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope (CASH) is the division within Madison House, a student volunteer center that assists the United Way program. 

“Under the CASH program at Madison House we have about 220 volunteers this year, so it’s about double from what we had last year,” said Madison House CASH program director Wei Lin. “We’re really trying to expand operations to serve as many people as we can in the community.”

Volunteers complete eight hours of training and must pass the IRS certification exam.

“What gives them [the students] the real advantage over anybody else is that they have a real desire to help the community,” said Lin. 

According to Lin, the program has a large demand in Charlottesville, but United Way's tax assistance is also available across Albemarle, Greene, Nelson, Fluvanna, and Louisa.

The program kicked off on Jan. 29 and will finish on April 17. Organizers say that more than 240 people have filed their taxes thus far. 

To schedule an appointment, click on the link here to get started. 

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