For some area residents, tax time was a little easier this year. Saturday the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada hosted the inaugural Financial Fitness Fair at the Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club. People walked in the doors as soon as they opened.
“We’re kicking off the VITA tax season for free tax preparation for those making less than $50,000,” event organizer Nancy Brown said. “We’re trying to get every dollar into peoples hands.”
“It’s important to get the word out about EITC because a lot of people don’t know about it,” Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said. “I read some statistics that say 20% of people that live in the US that are eligible for that credit don’t take advantage of it. This is like free money so I’m glad they’re doing this and I hope it gets bigger every year.”
AmeriCorps volunteers living at the Club for the next few weeks have been trained in tax preparation and will be helping residents in various locations fill out tax paperwork.
“It’s so rewarding to be able to help these people and be a part of something,” AmeriCorps volunteer Angela Ziogas said. “They’re so thankful and it’s just been awesome.”
There were a lot of other resources at the fair as well.
“We’re including anything that promotes financial stability,” Brown said. “We’ve got the food bank providing information on food stamps, the WIC program, we have free flu shots for youth, free credit reports for anyone that wants to get their credit score. It’s a really positive thing and really about how we can get financial resources into the hands of the people who need it most.”
There were banks there that were opening up accounts for tax refunds.
“We’ve had good traffic today,” Nevada State Bank representative Dan Dykes said. “People are interested in finding out about low-rate loans and credit cards and even jobs. We’ve already had someone here looking for work so whatever we can do for them, that’s something we’re going to be interested in. We believe it’s time for all of us to get together, bring our community together and get people back to work, give them an opportunity for education, for savings and for loans so we’re happy to be here.”
“This is a very important thing for our community because it’s helping people that need help,” Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said. “We really appreciate everyone doing this because they’re helping a lot of people. It’s really great to help people that are down and out get back on their feet.”
There will be other opportunities for free tax preparation in the coming weeks. You can call the information line 2-1-1 or log on to www.nevada211.org for more information.