Working Families Receive More than $630,000 in Tax Refunds and Tax Credits in 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 20, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), and the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly provided tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  Partners provided five sites throughout the state, which included Kakaako, Waimanalo, Anahola, Hilo and Pahoa.  Twenty-five volunteers assisted over 350 families (an increase in our client base of 70%) in claiming tax refunds of over $630,000.

“The commitment, time, and expertise of our volunteers are truly amazing, and the service they provide is invaluable”, said Bobi Olmos Arnold, CNHA VITA Coordinator.  “Many Hawaii families leave money unclaimed that is due them, and we try to make our sites and services easily available to our clients.”

In 2011, certified tax preparers at five sites claimed over $270,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, and Education Tax Credits.  Ten college students were able to meet with volunteers to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  89% of clients polled chose to have their tax refunds direct deposited into their bank accounts.  75% of our clients heard about our free tax sites through their friends or family members, and clients who qualified for the Education Tax Credit, increased by 116% from 19 filers in 2010 to 41 filers in 2011.

“Every year we provide much needed services to more clients across the State,” said Rosalee Puaoi, CNHA Project Manager.  “In the past three tax seasons volunteers prepared over 711 tax returns and returned over $1.2 million in tax credits and tax refunds to Hawaii residents.” Partners look forward to the next tax season and understand that with education and information the need for services will increase.

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a national, member based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to capacity building and providing support services to agencies and organizations focused primarily on Native communities in Hawaii and the Pacific. Its mission is to embrace the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, and community development of Native Hawaiians. They are a strong voice on public policy, operate a community loan fund, deliver capacity building and leadership development services, and promote community-owned enterprises.

Hawaii Community Assets (HCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and emerging community development financial institution that builds the capacity of low and moderate income communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency. HCA’s philosophy supports permanent housing, financial education, and asset building programs to achieve its mission.

The Sovereign Councils of Hawaiian Homelands Assembly (SCHHA) is a statewide organization of over 30 homestead associations that was established in 1987 to protect lessees living on Hawaiian homelands with a unified way in which to (1) advocate for the protection of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 as amended and the land trust that the act established and (2) to provide input into decision making that impacted their continued residence on the land.

For more information on becoming a certified tax preparer for the 2012 tax season and on CNHA’s other projects and programs, please contact our offices by e-mail at info@hawaiiancouncil.org, by phone at 808.596.8155 or by visiting our website at www.hawaiiancouncil.org.

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