RALEIGH, N.C., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) just completed its fourth year of assisting members with tax preparation services, and 2011 saw remarkable results as SECU helped almost 53,000 members claim more than $82 million in refunds while saving them approximately $7.9 million in tax preparation fees! Through its participation in the IRS free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, the Credit Union increased the number of members helped by more than 35% to nearly 48,000, up from 35,000 in 2010. In only its second year of offering a low-cost tax preparation service for members who fall above the income threshold for VITA, SECU more than doubled the number assisted, increasing to almost 5,000 from the 2,100 figure of last season.
A main focus of SECU's tax preparation services is to ensure that participating members benefit from all tax credits for which they qualify - credits that often go unclaimed by those eligible, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This season, SECU helped members claim more than $35 million in tax credits, including $20.8 million in EITCs.
Tenesha Carter, SECU's SVP of Tax Preparation Services comments, "By offering free tax preparation to qualifying members through VITA and complementing that program with SECU's low-cost tax preparation option, we are making a tremendous financial difference for many members at a time when they need it most. As the North Carolina economy continues to struggle, it is imperative that SECU, as a trusted financial advisor, does what it can to keep more money in the pockets of our members. It is very rewarding to see just how much this program is helping the citizens of our State."
"The SECU VITA partnership with the Internal Revenue Service has been extremely beneficial to North Carolinians, as seen in the numbers of those helped by SECU branch personnel in 2011 and overall in the last four years. Having an additional 237 VITA sites through SECU's statewide branch network is a critical element in making sure everyone who qualifies for free tax preparation is aware of VITA and can get the help they need," states Roger D. Burton, Territory Manager for IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication.
SECU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members. SECU has been providing the employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for over 70 years. Currently serving more than 1.6 million members, SECU provides services through 237 branch offices, nearly 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, www.ncsecu.org.