AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

May 25, 2018

Volunteers recognized ...
VITA Volunteers Provide Economic Impact of $12.7 Million in Christian, Stone and Taney Counties

FORSYTH, Mo. — University of Missouri Extension recognized community leaders and 15 volunteers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for providing free tax assistance to low and moderate income families with a Volunteer Recognition lunch in May for Christian, Stone and Taney County volunteers.

In 2018, the VITA volunteers assisted over 1,768 low and moderate-income families with free tax preparation at six locations: Christian County Extension Office (Ozark), Taney County OACAC Office (Branson), Taney County Extension Office (Forsyth), Ozarks Technical Community College (Hollister), Stone County OACAC Office (Branson West) and Stone County Annex (Galena).

VITA volunteers prepared 2,801 plus federal and state tax returns for taxpayers in Christian, Stone and Taney counties. Families received $873,239 in Federal Income Tax refunds, including $358,171 in EIC, and $400,546 in state refunds. In addition, the taxpayers saved $284,800 in tax preparation fees. The economic impact of the VITA programs to the economy of Christian, Stone and Taney counties is estimated at over 12.74 million dollars.

VITA Volunteers were recognized for their years of service and contributing over 2002 volunteer hours to the program. According to Jim Spencer Jr., agricultural business specialist with University of Missouri Extension, the economic savings in volunteer time by the VITA Volunteers is estimated at $48,328.

Taxpayers served by the program received education when getting their tax returns prepared. Education included an explanation of clients' tax returns- credits they received, why they may not have gotten credits and why and how to adjust withholding as well as creating a spending plan and other financial information.

Christian County volunteers included Lorri Binger and Jim Spencer Jr. Shannon Eby is the Christian County VITA site coordinator.

Stone County volunteers included John Bornheimer, Linda Bornheimer, Nellie Lamers, Jim Spencer Jr. and Joe Ziegler. Luanna LaVielle-Fullerton, University of Missouri Extension, is the Stone County VITA site coordinator.

Taney County volunteers included Robert Davis, Shannon Eby, Val Escalante, Mike Hynes, Kristopher Peters, Lawrence Quinn, April Saunders and Joe Ziegler. Jody LeMaster, University of Missouri Extension, is the Taney County VITA site coordinator.

Recipient of the 2018 special recognition honor was Joe Ziegler, volunteering in both Stone and Taney counties; in just his second year Mr. Ziegler has volunteered by working 4 days a week with the VITA program.

Special Thanks goes to Lynda LaRocque, Taney County Administrative Assistant and JoEtta Bowling, Stone County Administrative Assistant for their tireless efforts in scheduling clients for tax appointments and many other behind the scene task to help make the VITA program successful.

Christian, Stone and Taney County Commissioners, MU Extension, Healthy Families Taskforce of Stone and Taney counties and the Children's Trust Fund were recognized for funding the VITA program in Stone and Taney Counties.

LaQuita Hall, IRS SPEC representative, the Stone and Taney County Commissioners, Andrew Zumwalt, University of Missouri assistant extension professor, and Jim Spencer Jr., University of Missouri Extension agricultural business specialist, commended the VITA volunteers and VITA Steering Committee for their time and economic contribution to area families.

Source: Jim Spencer Jr., (417) 581-3558

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