Taxes

21 VITA sites offer free tax help for eligible taxpayers

Filing electronically expedites refunds

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The number-crunching is on. Twenty-one Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites are in high gear, offering free tax preparation for low- and middle-income families.

“We’re kind of playing catch-up,” said Mel Dunlap, VITA volunteer at the Ed Cody Library.  

The sites opened a week later than usual due to the federal government shutdown.

VITA, which is sponsored by the city of San Antonio, the United Way of San Antonio, Catholic Charities and the Internal Revenue Service, provides free tax preparation for individuals and families who earn up to $55,000 a year.

Last year, VITA filed more than 32,300 returns, generating $47.8 million in refunds.

Getting the maximum refund quickly is priority for Rebecca Thayer, a single parent who’s banking on her refund for a down payment.

“I plan to buy my first home with this refund,” she said.

According to the IRS, most refunds for electronically filed returns will be made within three weeks.

“What I’m hearing is the average return time is seven to 10 business days,” said Roland Martinez, with the city’s Department of Human Services.

This year, changes to the tax code are in effect. Taxpayers will likely notice significantly shorter forms, but some taxpayers may also notice smaller refunds than they’re used to.    

Some people’s overall tax burdens may be less, but their refund may be smaller, too.

“The question we hear most is, ‘I got more back last year, and I made the same amount of money. What gives?’” Dunlap said.

To get a refund quickly, the IRS says to file electronically, use direct deposit instead of waiting on the mail and be accurate. A small mistake can flag your return for more scrutiny and can cause a delay.

The VITA sites are open through April 15. People are urged to call ahead to check on wait times.

For more information on what to bring, click here

VITA sites (days and hours vary): 

  • Guadalupe Community Center, 1801 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd.

  • Bazan Library, 2200 W. Commerce St.

  • Willie C. Velasquez Center, 1302 N. Zarzamora St.

  • The Neighborhood Place, 3014 Rivas St.

  • St. Mary’s University, 2507 NW 36th St.

  • Forest Hills Library, 5245 Ingram Rd.

  • Henry Guerra Library, 7978 W. Military Dr.

  • Miller’s Pond Community Center, 6175 Old Pearsall Rd.

  • Palo Alto College, 1400 Villaret

  • Texas A&M SA, One University Way

  • Mission Library, 3134 Roosevelt Ave.

  • Presa Community Center, 3721 S. Presa St.

  • San Antonio College, 1819 N. Main Ave.

  • University of The Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway St.

  • St. Philip’s College 1801  Martin Luther King Blvd.

  • Claude Black Community Center, 2805 E. Commerce St.

  • Ella Austin Community Center, 1023 N. Pine St.

  • Westfall Library, 6111 Rosedale Court

  • Ed Cody Library, 11441 Vance Jackson Rd.

  • Brook Hollow Library, 530 Heimer Rd.

  • Thousand Oaks Library, 4618 Thousand Oaks Dr.

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