State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) tax preparers have just completed the 2012 tax season, helping nearly 65,000 North Carolina taxpayers claim more than $86 million in refunds and save over $8 million in preparation fees! Through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, SECU tax preparers filed over 57,000 member returns --- a substantial increase from last year’s figure of nearly 48,000. For members whose income thresholds fall above the VITA guidelines, SECU’s low-cost tax preparation services helped 7,000 tax return filers, up 30% from the nearly 5,000 served in 2011. In addition, over 26,000 Credit Union members took advantage of discounted TurboTax® services via SECU’s website.
The Credit Union continues to actively promote its tax preparation services and ensure that members not only avoid high fees associated with tax return preparation, but are educated on various tax credits for which they qualify. These efforts have paid off for members as well, with 65,000 members claiming over $40.7 million in tax credits in 2012, including $22.7 million in Earned Income Tax Credits and over $12 million in Child Tax Credits. VITA and low-cost tax prep services appointments also provide SECU staff time to assist members with budgeting and financial counseling.
Tenesha Carter, SECU’s SVP of Tax Preparation Services, comments, “We are delighted to help so many members through the IRS VITA program, SECU’s low-cost tax preparation program, and by providing discounts for tax self-preparation through our website, www.ncsecu.org. Our goal at SECU is to help members and all North Carolinians keep more money in their pockets. The dedicated efforts of Credit Union tax preparers are helping SECU achieve that goal, and the amount of dollars saved on tax preparation fees confirms the positive difference SECU is making in the financial well-being of our State.”
“SECU’s participation in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program continues to exceed our expectations. With a statewide network of 241 branches, the Credit Union offers increased availability of VITA’s quality, free tax assistance for member taxpayers who qualify and ensures that IRS VITA services are available in all 100 North Carolina counties. We are proud of this partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and State Employees’ Credit Union which provides help to taxpayers in need,” states Debra Patterson, Territory Manager for IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication.