The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, and online Free Tax Assistance programs just kicked off their 2018 season, and it’s going to be the biggest season that El Paso County has ever seen.
Qualifying El Pasoans can sit face-to-face with trained, bilingual volunteers to file their taxes at any of the 17 VITA sites throughout the city. Some of the VITA sites will offer New Mexico tax filing. Individuals can also file their taxes online with the Free Tax Assistance program.
The services are being offered by the Coalition for Family Economic Progress, an alliance of more than 21 private, public and nonprofit organizations dedicated to the economic empowerment of working families.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is another useful refund tool the programs provide. EITC is a benefit for working families that helps reduce the amount of taxes they may owe and may even provide a refund. The VITA program can offer up to a three-year look-back on eligible credits for taxpayers.
In 2017, the VITA program completed more than 8,000 returns and brought in more than $14.2 million in refunds to the El Paso community. The 2018 tax season is adding more locations and dates to better serve the community thanks to the many volunteers and partnerships with the IRS, GECU Community Development, UTEP, YISD, SISD, YMCA of El Paso, Canutillo ISD, Project Vida and more.
“We’re excited to kick off another year of free tax preparation for our community members,” said Ruby Alvarez, GECU community development manager. “We anticipate this to be the largest VITA season yet and it’s because of our trusted VITA partners and the impact we make in our community members’ lives.
“The millions of dollars returned to our community by our volunteers continue to grow and help our local economy thrive.”
The free services are available to community members with an annual household income of less than $54,000 for face-to-face filing and $62,000 for online filing.
Interested taxpayers need to bring W-2s, Form 1095-A, health insurance marketplace statements, photo IDs, Social Security cards for taxpayers and dependents and other information.