As the Grace College School of Business prepares to begin its seventh year of the Volunteer Tax Assistance program in Kosciusko County, community leaders gathered on Jan. 18 to celebrate over $1 million in tax refunds to past clients. Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer and Grace College President Dr. Bill Katip spoke. Afterward, attendees mingled and enjoyed cake to celebrate the occasion.
“We have served over a thousand clients since the program began in 2011,” said Al Grossnickle, associate professor of business at Grace College and director of the William P. Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development. “It is remarkable that we have reached this milestone of returning over $1 million to individuals and families. We are looking forward to ramping up for another great year of VITA,” he said.
VITA offers free tax preparation to elderly, disabled, and lower-income individuals filing a basic tax return. The William P. Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development at the Grace College School of Business partners with United Way of Kosciusko County to offer the IRS-endorsed VITA program in our county. In 2016, over 35 volunteers, including certified public accountants (CPAs), Grace students and professors, and DePuy and Lake City Bank employees, logged more than 1,700 volunteer hours.
“We are privileged to offer this service to our community,” said Grossnickle. “It’s encouraging to see the number of clients grow each year and know that we are helping individuals and families in a tangible way.” Since 2011, VITA clientele has grown by about 20 percent each year. VITA helps working families take advantage of all tax credits for which they are eligible, including earned income tax credit, child tax credits and education credits.
This year, Grace will host VITA from Monday, Jan. 30, through mid-March. Weekday appointments will be held at the MOCC. Ivy Tech in Warsaw will host select Saturday appointments in February and March. Those interested in taking advantage of free tax assistance should call 211 to schedule an appointment. For more information about VITA, including information on becoming a volunteer tax preparer, call 574-372-5100, ext. 6091.