CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia students are making a direct economic impact on low-income households this tax season.
Student volunteers with Creating Assets, Savings & Hope (CASH) have been working with individuals making under $57,000 a year in the Charlottesville area to maximize their returns. The organization partners with United Way and Cville Tax Aide.
“We collaborate with United Way, who helps us get all of the documents from clients, and then volunteers work in teams every week go through the returns, review them twice for accuracy, and then communicate with the client about what their return and refund status is,” CASH volunteer Amanda Hedgecock said.
This year, the group moved to an all-virtual model, but the students were still able to make a $1 million direct impact.
“It has been very interesting, because our program in previous years used to be all in-person. We would be in three or four community sites: One was the Baptist Church, and one was one of the high schools in the local areas, so we had to move fully online,” CASH volunteer Brendan Ackelson said.
In a normal year, the organization typically makes a $4 million impact on the community, but the students are still thankful they were able to continue their important work during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Next year, since everything should be back to normal, I’m really expecting to see the usual numbers we normally put up like 2,025 families, $4 million economic impact,” CASH volunteer Myles McPartland said.
Hedgecock says being able to give back to the community, especially during the pandemic, is rewarding.
“I spoke to tons of clients because we walk them through their return when it’s done and they are just so grateful,” Hedgecock said. “They know that when they come to us they can get a full understanding of their taxes and also get it as fast as possible, which is also make or break in some circumstances.”