News Release

Lifeline for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers, Inc.
PO Box 496, Painesville, OH 44077
Contact: Carrie Dotson | (440) 354-2148 |

Lifeline Concludes Tax Season, Prepares over $100,000 in Returns for Lake Co. Residents

May 8, 2015
PAINESVILLE, Ohio— Lifeline, Inc. has concluded its 2015 tax season with great results, according to the agency’s administration.

“We had a very busy, but very productive tax season,” said Carrie Dotson, Executive Director. “Our VITA volunteers prepared tax returns for 92 Lake County residents, totaling $110,133 in state and federal tax returns into our community.”

Final statistics for the VITA Program for the 2014 tax season show that 92 residents had their taxes prepared at a Lifeline VITA tax clinic and that 13 of them received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Total returns generated at Lifeline’s VITA clinics were $110,133.

The EITC is a federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working families and individuals. Congress originally approved it in 1975. Eligibility factors include how much you earned in 2014 and how many children you have. Even single adults and couples without children can qualify for the credit, although families with children receive larger credits

“We’re really excited about the number of people that we served with free tax preparation services this season,” Dotson said. “We’re also really pleased to bring that kind of revenue back into the Lake County community.”

Lifeline, Inc. uses volunteers trained and certified by the IRS through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA volunteers provide free income tax assistance to low-income, elderly and disabled people. Throughout the 2015 tax season, volunteers donated 301 hours to Lifeline’s VITA Program. Volunteers included community members and students from Lake Erie College.

Lifeline Director of Community Services, Michelle Mezaris agreed that the volunteers really provided great service to the clients who participated.

“Lifeline was able to serve Lake County residents with excellent tax services and great customer services,” said Mezaris. “Our volunteers are the reason Lifeline is successful with this program. Their dedication to the low income residents that we serve is evident in their interactions with them.”

Lifeline, Inc. has hosted VITA Tax clinics since 2010 and in that time has prepared tax filings for 672 residents. Over these six years, volunteers have given 1,818 hours and $846,287 in returns have been generated for Lake County residents.

Lifeline, Inc. will host VITA tax clinics beginning again in January 2016. While specific clinic details will not be available until December 2015, Lifeline is already looking for volunteers who are interested in preparing taxes next season. Anyone interested can contact Mezaris at (440) 354-2148.

Lifeline for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers was founded in 1973 with the mission of helping Lake County residents by providing them assistance and life skills programming that is designed to increase self-sufficiency. In 1980 Lifeline became a participating agency of the United Way of Lake County, UWLC, and in 1987 was designated a community action agency by the Ohio Development Services Agency, ODSA. In 2008, Lifeline was designated as a mental health agency by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Today Lifeline continues with the same mission of helping Lake County’s low-income residents break the cycle of poverty and make the transition from agency-dependency to self-sufficiency. Lifeline’s current programming includes services in the healthcare, housing & energy assistance, information & referral services and consumer education & job training areas. Our motto is ‘helping people, changing lives.’ Lifeline is currently funded by the UWLC and by grants through the ODSA, the Lake County Board of Commissioners, the Lake County ADAMHS Board, Lake County Department of Job & Family Services, the City of Mentor, the Western Reserve Junior Service League and through private donors.