Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offering free income tax filing help
Twenty-three Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program sites opened across the city on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. Individuals and households who earned up to $55,000 in total income last year are eligible for free income tax preparation and electronic filing through April 15, 2013.
The VITA program is sponsored by the IRS and a city-wide coalition of non-profit organizations and businesses led by the City of San Antonio, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, and Catholic Charities of San Antonio, Inc.
“The VITA Program offers a crucial economic resource for San Antonio’s hard-working families,” said Melody Woosley, Interim Director of the Department of Human Services. “The City and our partners save our taxpayers millions in paid preparer fees while helping them take advantage of valuable tax credits.”
VITA volunteers electronically file basic federal income tax returns for families and individuals. Volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS. Tax filers who receive a refund can check its delivery status by visiting the IRS website and clicking on “Where’s My Refund?” or by using the IRS2Go smartphone app available for iPhone and Android. Filers can visit any VITA site through April 15 on a walk-in basis.
“As a nonprofit organization responsible for ensuring our donors’ dollars are invested in effective and efficient programs and services, our volunteers think that VITA is one of our most valuable investments of time and resources,” said Toni-Marie Van Buren, senior vice president of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. “VITA facilitates the availability of free volunteer income tax assistance for low-income and underserved populations, and strengthens local families’ abilities to forgo tax preparation fees, pay bills, and save for the future,” she added.
When visiting a VITA site for free tax preparation, all filers must bring the following with them:
- Valid photo identification
- Social Security Card(s) or Individual Tax Identification Number(s) for all family members
- All W-2 Forms
- Copy of prior year tax return (if applicable)
- 1099 Forms (if applicable)
- If filing jointly, spouse must be present to review/sign completed return
VITA sites experience peak customer volume throughout February and again in April near the tax deadline. All filers should arrive early and allow plenty of time when visiting a VITA site for tax preparation.
“As a community-wide partnership, VITA brings everyone together – volunteers, banks, financial institutions, corporate sponsors, nonprofit agencies – to provide valuable, cost-free services and help strengthen working families. VITA is a significant return on investment for everyone involved, especially the clients,” said Catholic Charities Interim President/CEO Barb Dampman.
Qualifying VITA filers who receive tax refunds also have the opportunity to earn extra dollars through the SaveUSA match-savings program. Eligible filers who open a SaveUSA account with all or part of their refund ($200 or more) for one year can earn a 50 percent match on top of their savings up to $500. Additionally, U.S. savings bonds are available at all VITA sites.
For more information or to find a nearby VITA site and its business hours, tax filers can see the map below, go to www.vitasa.org or call the United Way Helpline at 2-1-1.
Last year, VITA filed over 34,000 tax returns and recovered an estimated $65 million in refunds and credits for San Antonio taxpayers while saving them an estimated $9 million in tax preparation fees. San Antonio’s VITA Program is nationally recognized as one of the top performing programs across the country.
View 2013 VITA Site Locations San Antonio in a larger map