Local nonprofit organization helps hundreds prepare tax returns

Another tax season has come and gone at North Kent Connect, a nonprofit striving to connect its clients and community members to vital resources. Each year, the organization partners with the Heart of West Michigan United Way’s VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and AARP volunteers who help prepare tax returns.

“Tax time is very stressful for people, and we are happy to relieve that burden by hosting wonderful volunteers who give their time and talents to prepare tax returns accurately and timely,” said Claire Guisfredi, Executive Director at North Kent Connect. “They really make a difference in so many lives. A lot of people leave here with a smile on their face and peace of mind, and that’s what it is all about.”

This year, 729 tax returns were prepared by 20 volunteers, many of them from Wolverine Worldwide. Last year 687 tax returns were completed. This free service begins at North Kent Connect in February and lasts until a week before taxes are due.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be able to give back to the community by helping others with their taxes,” said Jim Moss, AARP volunteer. “Some people simply don’t have resources to even be able to file. That means they can either face a legal consequence or miss out on a refund that would otherwise support themselves or their family.”

  “I am so grateful to North Kent Connect and the volunteers available during tax time,” said Michelle Town. “I cannot afford to have a company do my taxes. It takes a lot of pressure off to know that our community is there for us and supports crucial needs like this one.”

Several community members and churches stepped up to provide lunch to volunteers who worked long days and evening hours, and some even donated to North Kent Connect so this program would be possible for years to come.

To learn more information about free tax services in Kent County or to see if you qualify, visit http://www.hwmuw.org/kctcc/.