Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Sites Close in on $500,000 in Refunds Made to Hawaii Residents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 1, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – A coalition of Native Hawaiian nonprofits that partner to operate Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Sites (VITA) statewide released its most current statistics this week.  Nearly $500,000 in tax refunds, including earned income tax credits, education tax credits and child tax credits, have been received by Hawaii residents that have accessed the free tax assistance services.  Started in 2008 with the help of Aloha United Way, the Hawaiian serving nonprofits led by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) operate 5 sites statewide, to reach out to all Hawaii residents that may qualify for free tax assistance, and various tax credits available to working families.

“It’s really terrific that so many families are receiving their refunds, and claiming tax credits that they are eligible for,” said Bobi Olmos Arnold, CNHA Tax Site Coordinator.  “To see the sites nearly reach the $500,000 mark in total refunds to Hawaii families is outstanding.”

The VITA season and tax filing season ends on April 15th.  With two weeks to go, the 20 volunteers certified by the Internal Revenue Service to meet with families at any of the 5 sites, are in the final stretch for 2011 to help bring as many tax credits back to Hawaii.  Of the 280 returns filed to date, more than 60% elect to have their refunds automatically deposited, resulting in an average 10 to 14 day turn-a-round in receiving the cash in their accounts.  As of the end of March, a total of $478,759 in total tax refunds have been filed for at the VITA sites.

“It’s truly a great service, we’re happy to be a part of the coalition of nonprofits doing this work,” said Michelle Kauhane, Executive Director of Hawaiian Community Assets.  “The volunteers that come from every walk of life to give of their time and aloha, is so uplifting.  The volunteers are the heart of the VITA program, and the families that come in to get what they have worked hard for.”

CNHA and its partners mahalo the local IRS office and Glenna Nakamura for the support and help in operating multiple VITA sites serving Hawaii’s families.  For more information, to be a volunteer for the 2012 season, or to make an appointment to file your taxes before the April 15th deadline, contact our office at 808.596.8155.

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