Tax prep assistance program, supported by the Davis College, sees expansive growth in its second year


After a highly successful first year, an initiative sponsored in part by the Davis College of Business and Economics saw extensive growth in its second, a rise its director says represents a financial benefit to the public of just over a quarter of a million dollars.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a collaboration between Davis College and New River Community Action (NRCA), provides free tax preparation and consultation to local residents making less than $56,000 a year. VITA is run by a single paid position, director Lacey Desper, and was staffed this year with seven volunteers.

According to its most recent report, VITA processed and filed returns for some 777 individuals this year, a 94% increase over the 400 that were handled in 2022.

Between those clients – who saved an average of $250 in tax preparation costs – and additional services the program offers, Desper estimates it saved the public approximately $266,000.

Of the returns filed, 137 clients were eligible for earned income tax credit (EITC); 54 earned child tax credit; 48 got advanced or additional child tax credit; and 38 received education credits.

The Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law and its chair, Douglas Brinckman, Ph.D., along with the dean’s office, provide VITA with support and office space. Two Radford University student volunteers also participated, completing 347 returns and donating approximately 220 hours of service.

About 100 university students and staffers filed their returns through the program this year.

“You can see the community impact of this program, which is intended to assist the economically underserved populations with their tax returns,” Dean Joy Bhadury said.

“This is truly an impactful partnership with a local nonprofit that benefits the local community,” he added.

For more information about VITA and its work with income tax assistance, visit the New River Community Action website.

May 22, 2023
Neil Harvey