Posted: 3/08/16

Volunteers’ Free Tax Preparation Programs Help Return $11.3 Million to Laredo Taxpayers


VITA Awareness Week
Tuesday, March 15 is celebrated as National VITA Awareness Day.  

Last year, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)  program helped Laredoans receive received $11.3 million in federal income tax refunds and save more than $1.1 million in tax preparation fees.  Tuesday, March 15 is celebrated as National VITA Awareness Day.

The program is staffed by volunteers who complete 16 hours of IRS training and volunteer throughout tax season, often times for multiple weekends in a row, at sites around the city.

A site at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), is open daily Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. through April 15 in the Student Center Room 104.  Services are suspended during Spring Break, March 7-11.

VITA offers the program to low-wage workers as a free alternative to more costly, tax preparation services. The sites are IRS-sponsored and closely monitored by the Agency, giving them a far lower error rate than many self- and paid-tax preparation services.  Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) experts found that VITA programs across the country had a near-perfect accuracy rate of 94% in 2015.

Programs like TAMIU’s also help raise awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to ensure eligible workers receive the credit at the correct amount.  The EITC is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty programs, yet one in every five workers eligible for the credit does not claim it. 

While this program has successfully operated in Laredo for several years,  VISTA workers procured through TAMIU have helped expand service capacity at all 17 sites throughout the region. Nationally, volunteer income tax preparers helped return $3.98 billion in federal income taxes to those with modest wages this past tax year, benefiting 3.3 million Americans.

Established in 1979, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, D.C.; Durham, North Carolina, and San Francisco, California.

For additional information, visit the VITA offices during office hours or call 956.307.8138. Additional VITA sites are located at: J. B. Alexander High School, Azteca Economic and Preservation Corporation, Catholic Social Services, Cigarroa High School, Goodwill, Laredo Public Library branches, LBJ High School, Martin High School, United High School and Workforce offices.

For more on CFED, visit http://cfed.org