ILLINOIS (WIFR) -- Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois has completed another successful tax season. The Goodwill Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites located in Rockford, Machesney Park, and DeKalb, Illinois, along with a mobile site that traveled to several locations throughout Goodwill’s service area, helped return over $2.1 million dollars in refunds to community members this past tax season. Goodwill also partnered with United Way of Eastern LaSalle County in Ottawa to host a site. Thirty-five (35) volunteers worked hard to perform over 1,459 hours of service to file 2,084 tax returns.
“With so many people struggling financially in our communities, the free VITA program provides a much needed service to those in need,” stated Sam Schmitz, President of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois. “By putting over $2.1 million back into the local economy, everyone wins.”
Goodwill saved tax filers over $200,000 in tax preparation fees with its free tax preparation service offered to families with income less than $50,000 and individuals with income less than $25,000. All returns were done with an extremely high acceptance rate for e-filed returns.
Goodwill also partnered with the National Disability Institute and United Way Worldwide to expand free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance to qualified individuals. Funded by the Walmart Foundation, the My Free Taxes program is a free online option for individuals or families with a combined income of $57,000 or less who prefer to file their own taxes. Goodwill helped individuals file 345 free tax returns through the MyFreeTaxes.com initiative.
In the past four years, Goodwill Industries has prepared over 5,400 tax returns for the community, resulting in over $6.7 million in refunds to local low to moderate income residents. Partners for the tax sites include the IRS, National Disability Institute, Kishwaukee United Way and the CA$H Coalition of DeKalb County, United Way of Rock River Valley, Northern Illinois University Accountancy Department, Rockford CA$H Coalition and the City of Rockford. Goodwill looks to continue to expand this initiative in 2013.
For more information regarding Goodwill’s VITA sites, please contact Courtney Geiger at (815) 987-6226. For media inquiries, please contact Shannon Halverson at (815) 987-6237.