Expanding Opportunities, Building Hope

United Way of Tompkins County teams up every year with Alternatives Federal Credit Union to ensure the financial stability of every person, by providing free tax preparation at several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. At these locations, IRS-certified volunteers help qualifying community member taxpayers accurately prepare their taxes with ease and at zero cost.

Here are some stories of a few members of the community who have taken advantage of this program:

Shyla Osborn

Shyla Osborn lives with her caring husband and their four children. She currently works at the Alternatives Federal Credit Union where she has been for 7 months. This is Shyla’s first year using the VITA Free Tax Prep Program. She appreciates that “the staff and volunteers at AFCU are very friendly and the overall environment is diverse and welcoming”, and that there are no fees to worry about. Shyla has received her refund, and Child Tax Credit, and plans to use the money to pay off credit card bills, and put the rest toward buying some  family essentials.

“I would tell my friends to come to AFCU to set up an appointment and not worry about the hassle of paying to get your taxes done” - Shyla Osborn.

Junito Cubero

Junito is a father of six, and has worked at Alternatives Federal Credit Union for 10 years in the IT department. Junito has used the Vita Free Tax Prep Program for the last 6 years. He has not received this year’s refund yet, but when he does, he plans to use some of the money for home improvements and put the rest into his savings. Junito also receives the Child Tax Credit and plans to use it to purchase school supplies and clothes for his kids. He’s happy that United Way funds a program like this, allowing people an opportunity to get their taxes done for free. Many people don’t know about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which VITA volunteers are informed about, and he believes that without it, he would hardly get a refund.

“ You should expect to get more than any other competitor and don’t be afraid to come and ask questions. The volunteers are ready to help!”- Junito Cubero