​VITA program kick-off announces free opportunity to maximize tax refund

February 08, 2016 | posted by Catholic Charities

Topics: Catholic Charities

VITA program kick-off announces free opportunity to maximize tax refund

National Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day was marked Jan. 29. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) held a kick-off event to start the 2016 tax season to celebrate the event.

J. Antonio Fernandez, president/CEO of Archdiocese of San Antonio Catholic Charities; San Antonio District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, San Antonio District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg, United States Representative Lloyd Doggett; Melody Woosley, director of the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services; and Jonathan Gurwitz, chair of the United Way Strengthening Families Issue Council the San Antonio VITA Coalition held a press conference and resource fair at the Catholic Charities’ Guadalupe Community Center.

“For many of our low-income residents in District 5, VITA provides a service that is essential to their financial security and family well-being,” said Councilwoman Gonzales. “Today marks the beginning of yet another productive year for the VITA team to create a positive impact in San Antonio that will last for generations.”

There are 19VITA sites open, through April 18, across the city with services available on a walk-in basis. “VITA is a city-wide effort to help low to moderate income taxpayers properly claim the EITC and other tax credits that improve the lives of San Antonio working families,” said Woosley. Trained and certified volunteers work with families to file tax returns with refunds electronically deposited within 10-14 business days on average.

“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 the United Way’s Gurwitz.

“I am extremely proud of the San Antonio VITA program. Last year, we were able to meet the needs of hardworking individuals and families by preparing over 34,000 tax returns and return over $60 million dollars back into the hands of individuals who often need the refund to buy food, school clothes and other basic needs,” stated Fernandez.

The VITA program was created by the Internal Revenue Service more than 40 years ago as a collaboration with local communities to provide free tax return preparation to low-income residents using training volunteers. The VITA program is an important tool in helping to ensure that all eligible residents are able to claim the EITC Child Tax Credit and other credits they may be eligible for; a low income resident with children may be eligible for up to $6,000 in EITC and other credits.

Last year, VITA saved taxpayers an estimated $8.5 million in tax preparation fees. San Antonio’s VITA Program is nationally recognized as one of the top performing programs across the country. For more information or to find a nearby VITA site and its business hours, tax filers can go online to or call the United Way Helpline at 2-1-1.