April 15th marked the end of another tax season. During this past tax season, Streams of Hope had the pleasure of providing a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This program offers free tax help to lower-income individuals. Along with other VITA partners like Kentwood Community Church, Maplelawn Baptist Church, GVSU, and Steelcase, we offered tax assistance at our campus during the weeks leading up to April 15. The results were incredible – 6 volunteers served a combined 413 hours to complete 107 tax returns, earning $171K for lower-income families!

As an added benefit, this program not only helps individuals file their taxes, this comprehensive process ensures that these individuals can get their maximum refund. This  creates a positive “ripple effect” that benefits the whole neighborhood. A study conducted in Austin, TX  found that tax credits stimulate can stimulate local economies by a multiplier of 1.6.

Our VITA volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS so that the taxes can be filed as accurately as possible. Volunteers also identified valuable tax credits for eligible individuals. Available tax credits included Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Educational Credit, Homestead Property Tax Credit, and Home Heating Tax Credit. Streams of Hope served lower-income families from all over Kent County with this program. The majority of families came from our neighborhood and received $105,000 in refunds and credits!

In addition to securing refunds and credits, Streams of Hope saved community families $21,800 in tax fees this year. We extend a heartfelt “thank you” to our tireless volunteers who not only transformed the lives of the individuals you helped, but the community as a whole. We encourage you to consider volunteering with the Streams of Hope Tax Assistance program next year. You will receive training through the Kent County Tax Credit Coalition and do not need any previous experience or certifications! Learn more here.

Looking for other ways to get involved at Streams of Hope? Visit our volunteer page for more information!