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BURNSVILLE, Minn. – US Federal Credit Union’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is off to a roaring start just six days after its launch. According to the $573 million credit union, so far, 73 returns have been processed, which have generated more than $160,000 in refunds. That number already surpasses the amount the credit union processed the previous year by almost $40,000, and with the program running until April 14th, there’s no indication of it slowing down, said Jill Aleshire, manager of the credit union’s South Minneapolis location. “The response thus far has been overwhelming,” said Aleshire. “It’s very rewarding to offer this kind of assistance, but even more satisfying to know people are taking advantage of it and reaping the benefits. I expect the numbers will only increase as we get closer to the April 15th deadline.” VITA offers free tax preparation services to low-income individuals, and is administered through the non-profit agency AccountAbility Minnesota. US FCU is a second-year participant in the VITA program, offering tax preparation services in two of their full-service locations. Credit union directors and staff volunteer time and expertise to assist in preparation and filing. Individuals with an annual income of $26,000 or families with an annual income of $36,000 are eligible for the free service. “The momentum of this program demonstrates a very specific need for the underserved of our communities,” said Bill Raker, president/CEO of US FCU. “And, we are proud to be serving it.” US FCU plans to offer the service at additional locations in 2006, it said. The credit union serves more than 71,000 members.

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