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37 CDCUs help low-incomers keep millions in tax refunds
NEW YORK (6/30/08)--Thirty-seven community development credit unions (CDCUs) and eight Community Development Partner credit unions helped low-income residents keep millions of dollars in their communities as a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The CDCUs, which are members of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, teamed up to prepare 6,681 returns and bring New Yorkers $7.8 million in refunds and between $2 million and $4 million in stimulus payments. VITA users who deposit their tax refund in a savings account are eligible to receive up to a $250 match after one year. Tongass FCU, Ketchikan, Alaska, has operated a VITA site for five years. It has helped more than 100 individuals receive $47,000 in tax credits. This year, the credit union reached Metlakatla, an island town of 1,400 residents, where Tongass is the only financial institution. State Employees’ CU, Raleigh, N.C., returned $14.2 million to 15,500 people at 216 VITA sites this year. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tucson, Ariz., helped more than 550 people file taxes this year, with more than $1 million in returns. The tribe is working with the federation to organize its own CDCU. Alternatives FCU, Ithaca, N.Y., helped file more than 1,200 returns, returning an average of $1,514 to clients. ASI FCU, Harahan, La., has helped Louisianans with taxes for the past six years. “ASI continues to be a VITA sponsor because the program helps residents avoid predatory lenders and brings much-needed money into the community,” said Shannon Cian, VITA coordinator at the credit union. “It’s also important to note that in addition to VITA sites being an incredible benefit to the community, they are also a great membership growth strategy for the participating credit unions,” said federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. “Many of our CDCUs experience their greatest growth during the tax preparation season because of their VITA sites.”
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