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 $195,000 in Returns for Lake Co. Residents

May 23, 2017
PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Lifeline, Inc. has concluded its 2017 tax season with great results, according to the agency’s administration.

Final statistics for the VITA Program for the 2017 tax season show that 171 residents had their taxes prepared at a Lifeline VITA tax clinic and that 72 of them received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Total returns generated at Lifeline’s VITA clinics were $195,129.

“We’re really excited about the number of people that we served with free tax preparation services this season—it was our highest numbers in recent years. We’re also really pleased to bring that kind of revenue back into the Lake County community,” Dotson said. “We have to thank our partners at the United Way of Lake County. They stepped up to provide additional funding for our VITA Program so that we could really take it to the next level and assist additional residents.”

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 2016 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

Lifeline VITA Site Coordinator, Tiffany Menosky agreed that the program was a huge success this year.

“I am thrilled with the outcomes for the Lifeline VITA program in the 2017 tax season. We exceeded all of the goals that were set for us and those that we set for ourselves. We recruited more volunteers for the program, completed more returns and expanded our community partnerships,” said Menosky.

“Our newly formed partnership with Perry Senior Center and long-standing partnership with Lake Erie College’s accounting and law professors, Julie Ziemak and Joanne Gurley, are keys to our success and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the 2018 tax season. We will be continuing to expand our community partnerships going forward to reach as many Lake County residents as possible, if you or your organization is interested please reach out to us. This season was an outstanding accomplishment for our volunteers who gave their time to helping fellow Lake County residents and to the Lifeline staff members who also helped make the program a success. I cannot say thank you enough to all involved.”

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 2017 tax season, volunteers donated 341 hours to Lifeline’s VITA Program.

Menosky concurred that the volunteers certainly provided great service to the clients who participated.

“Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and we would not be able to provide this service to our clients without them,” said Menosky. “We are lucky enough to have volunteers who have been with our program since the beginning, in the 2010 tax season, and to be constantly attracting new volunteers to our program. The commitment of these individuals is greatly appreciated and an immeasurable value to Lake County. The on-going dedication of our volunteers brings us that much closer to achieving our mission of empowering our residents to become self-sufficient.”

Volunteers for the 2017 tax season included Elaine Waytes, Beverly Vitaz, Rita McMahon, Patricia Kelley, Cher Kelley, Frank Vaccariello, and Lake Erie College students Harry Giegerich, Matthew Coleman and Alex Lind.

Lifeline, Inc. has hosted VITA Tax clinics since 2010 and in that time, has prepared tax filings for 958 residents. Over these eight years, volunteers have given 2,425 hours and $1,169,911 in returns has been generated for Lake County residents.

“This year was also significant for our VITA Program because it was the year we surpassed $1 million in returns,” said Dotson. “For a program that is completely volunteer-driven, that is an amazing amount of money brought back into our community.”

Lifeline, Inc. will host VITA tax clinics beginning again in January 2018. While specific clinic details will not be available until December 2017, Lifeline is already looking for volunteers who are interested in preparing taxes next season. Anyone interested can contact Menosky 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.