Thursday, April 24, 2014

Volunteers recognized: VITA Volunteers Provide Economic Impact of $2.79 Million

April 25, 2014
Contact: Nellie Lamers, Family Financial Education Specialist
Headquartered in Taney County
Tel: (417) 546-4431

FORSYTH, Mo. -- University of Missouri Extension recognized community leaders and 14 volunteers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for providing free tax assistance to low and moderate income families in Stone and Taney counties with a luncheon at the Ledgestone Grille in StoneBridge on April 24.

In 2014, the VITA volunteers assisted over 1,233 low and moderate income families with free tax preparation at five locations:  Taney County OACAC Office (Branson), Taney County Extension Office (Forsyth), Ozarks Technical Community College (Hollister), Stone County OACAC Office (Branson West) and Stone County Annex (Galena).

VITA volunteers prepared 2,151 federal and state tax returns for taxpayers in Stone and Taney Counties. Families received $853,000 in Federal Income Tax refunds including $354,628 in EIC and $262,258 in state refunds.  In addition, the taxpayers saved $199,576 in tax preparation fees.  The economic impact of the VITA programs to the economy of Stone and Taney counties is estimated at $2,788,145.

VITA Volunteers were recognized for their years of service and contributing over 962 volunteer hours to the program. According to Nellie Lamers, family financial education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, the economic savings in volunteer time by the VITA Volunteers is estimated at $17,865.

Taxpayers served by the program were counseled and given information packets informing them about their rights and responsibilities under the Affordable Healthcare Act as part of the education they received when getting their tax returns prepared.

Ozarks Technical Community College volunteers included: Sharon Dixon, Annette FitzGerald, and April Saunders.

Stone County volunteers included:  John Bornheimer, Linda Bornheimer, Diana Peters and Luanna LaVielle-Fullerton, Stone County VITA site coordinator.

Taney County volunteers included: Robert Davis, Wayne Dietrich, Joe FitzGerald, Paul Lathum, Reba Retell, April Saunders and Jody LeMaster, Taney County VITA site coordinator.

Recipients of special recognition from the IRS and VITA Steering Committee for 10 years of community support of the University of Missouri MO TAX and VITA Programs were Annette FitzGerald, Joe FitzGerald, Luanna LaVielle-Fullerton, Jody LeMaster and Stone County OACAC.

Stone and Taney County Commissioners, White River Electric Cooperative -Operation Roundup, MU Extension, Healthy Families Taskforce of Stone and Taney counties and the Children’s Trust Fund were recognized for funding the VITA program.

LaQuita Hall, IRS SPEC representative, the Stone and Taney County Commissioners, Andrew Zumwalt, University of Missouri Assistant Extension Professor and Nellie Lamers, University of Missouri Extension family financial education specialist and VITA program coordinator for Stone and Taney counties, commended the VITA volunteers and VITA Steering Committee for their time and economic contribution to the families of Stone and Taney counties.

Photos of the various honored groups can be found here:


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