WICHITA FALLS (KFDX KJTL) — City leaders showed their support for an organization that helps community members prepare their taxes Friday which coincides with a big tax day—Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.
Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana proclaimed Jan. 25 the day tax season began as earned income tax credit awareness Day here in Wichita Falls Friday morning.
For many years, United Way and VITA officials have prepared community members taxes for free saving many families money, and Friday morning they kicked off tax season.
“Every year we try to bring it to the attention of the public,” VITA program director Genevive Anderson said. “This tax break was formed to save them money from tax breaks they may not be well aware of.”
With more than $7 million going back into the community and 3,800 returns, the VITA tax prep program has done very well for the community.
“The program has been in the community for a number of years,” United Way agency director Carol Marlar said. “It saves people so much money. I prep fees and brings so much money back into the community, so I think it’s an important program to have.”
By prepping taxes for free and giving tools and certain tax breaks, the VITA program has become an important program around tax time, especially for households who look forward to have their return so they catch up on bills.
“Our average client, their house income is $23,000—$25,000, so having to pay out of pocket to have tax prep is a financial burden to some of these families,” Anderson. “When they get their refund, they are paying to keep the light on, they are catching up on back rent, there is a lot of financial struggles when you are in that income bracket, so if we can save them $50 or $100 depending on their situation, we want to be able to do that.”
Organizers with the program said they look forward to many more years of tax preparations saving the public money while helping put money back into the community.