State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, District 26

For Immediate Release
February 9, 2006

Media Advisory

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
What: State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte will speak to community leaders and residents regarding the importance of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, while issuing an appeal for additional tax-preparation volunteers.
"It is my pleasure to help spread the word on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the very important role Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites play," says Sen. Van De Putte. "The EITC can change the life of someone who works hard, but does not always have enough to make ends meet. This is why it is crucial that we have the resources to offer free tax preparation services for our working families to take full advantage of the credit they themselves earned."
Where: Sul Ross Middle School, 3630 Callaghan
When: 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 16

VITA provides free, fast and quality tax preparation services to working families earning less than $40,000 annually, as it helps them access valuable tax credits of up to $4,400.

This year, approximately 150,000 Bexar County residents will receive back into their pockets more than $300 million through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It is estimated that 23 percent of San Antonio families who qualify for the EITC do not file for it, resulting in more than $85 million in unclaimed federal dollars.

The San Antonio Coalition for Economic Progress (SACFEP) operates 26 VITA sites across the city. All returns are filed electronically, ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds in seven to 10 days. Sites will operate through April 17, maintaining day and evening hours, plus weekend hours at most locations.

At VITA super-sites, in addition to having their taxes prepared, families can connect to related services and public benefits for which they may qualify, including food stamps, child-care assistance, children's health insurance and Individual Development Account savings programs.

The members of the San Antonio Coalition for Family Economic Progress include United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, the Internal Revenue Service, Our Lady of the Lake University, Making Connections (a local initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation), Catholic Charities, local universities, financial institutions, businesses and other community organizations.

For more information, call United Way's Help Line at 2-1-1 or 227- help / 227-4357.