Another tax preparation site started with major support from Progress Through Business is run by UW-Marathon County in Wausau, is facilitated by the AmeriCorps VISTA program and falls under the umbrella of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service. This program fits into the mandate of both the UW Colleges and UW-Extension.
UWMC VITA programs promote financial literacy by helping clients learn how to best use their refund to accomplish long-term goals. For the average client the tax help means $500 more into his or her pocket than would otherwise be the case. For someone earning $11/hr, that amounts to a 2 per cent raise. That’s money that does not come out of the employer’s pocket, meaning both the worker and the employer benefit, especially as employees tend to stay with employers when the workers feel that they are receiving fair value for their labor.
The 2011-2012 AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Deanna Meek, serves with the national network of VISTAs that coordinate programs for non-profit organizations. So far this year, the volunteers have completed 92 sets of tax forms, about a 100% increase over last year.