Money in Hilda’s Pocket

Meet Hilda Lara. Hilda works as a Bi-Lingual Outreach Independent Living Specialist at a local nonprofit agency in Rogers. This year Hilda utilized the Free Tax Service Initiative tax prep site in the Center for Nonprofits. This is her story.

Hilda is a part-time employee at a local nonprofit agency who assists the community by promoting the independence of persons with disabilities. Hilda, who was first a client of this nonprofit, received information and assistance for her disability, and was later hired as the Bi-Lingual Outreach Independent Living Specialist. Last year, Hilda paid a tax preparer $180 to have her taxes prepared. Just after filing her taxes, she found out about the Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) site and realized that she would have qualified for the free tax preparation assistance. This year, United Way of NWA printed and mailed promotional posters to local nonprofit agencies to spread the word about United Way of NWA’s Free Tax Service Initiative. Hilda received the posters in the mail at work and was able to walk downstairs from her office to the tax preparation site managed by CARE Community Center at the Nonprofit Center in Rogers. Hilda received free tax preparation, commenting; “I actually received more money back using the VITA site than I did using a paid preparer last year, and my income has not changed.”
Hilda continued to spread the word about the Free Tax Service Initiative to her friends and family. She distributed the posters and handouts to local supermarkets and churches to spread the word throughout the community. Additionally, Hilda told her clients, friends, and family to call 2-1-1 to find out qualification and location information for free tax services, as well as to receive information and referrals for their other needs.
Hilda is looking forward to being able to access free tax services next year and commented, “the volunteer tax preparers were friendly, gave fast service, and treated me with respect and dignity…not just treating me like another person walking in the door to pay for their taxes to be done.”