Gain financial relief with free tax help in San Antonio

46% of all residents in Bexar County are experiencing financial hardship, according to United Way of San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO — VITA, also known as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance which is a partnership between United Way, Catholic Charities and the City of San Antonio, just kicked off today. But volunteers have noticed a slow turnout. At one location, volunteers only had five people show up to either take advantage of the free tax preparation service or at least grab a pamphlet.

Betty Williamson is the site coordinator at ‘The Neighborhood Place’ for VITA.

“Money is very stressful, and that’s why it’s so important for them to come in as early as possible,” Williamson said. “We’ve been here a number of years, offering this free service to the community. It’s very very slow right now, but it’s going to pick up very quickly.”

Kevin Femmel is the director of communications with United Way of San Antonio. He says nearly half of all households in Bexar county are experiencing financial hardship – like living paycheck to paycheck.

“It helps connect people to the money, their hard-earned money that they’ve paid for in their taxes,” he said. “In a way that they’re not spending two, three hundred dollars to get their taxes prepared.”

For those who make up to $60,000 per year, Femmel describes VITA as a lifeline.

“People are often spending their tax refunds on things that make up for other things maybe they’re spending it on rent a health bill, a car bill,” he said. “We‘re hoping people spend it on things that actually provide them, respite and relief.”

If you want relief fast, at select VITA sites ask about the ‘refund anticipation loan’.

“The money they’re going to get in the tax refund immediately,” Femmel said. “Or the next day and it’s at no cost to them, no interest, no hidden fee or anything like that. It’s just to get people to that money.”

Families don’t have to make an appointment, just show up to any of the 13 locations.

“We’re right here in their community, you don’t have to go far,” Williamson said. 

Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license, immigration documents, social security cards, W-2’s for all of your employers and 1099 forms. Each site has Spanish speakers so there’s no barrier when it comes to learning about the free resources to help you and your family.

Here’s a list of the 13 VITA locations:

  • Thousand Oaks Library – 4618 Thousand Oaks Dr.
  • John Igo Library – 13330 Kyle Seale Parkway
  • Claude Black Community Center – 2805 E. Commerce St.
  • St. Philip’s College – 1801 Martin Luther King Blvd.
  • Palo Alto College – 1400 W. Villaret
  • Presa Community Center – 3721 S. Presa St.
  • Bazan Library – 2200 W. Commerce St.
  • Guadalupe Community Center – 1801 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd.
  • Henry Guerra Library – 7978 W. Military Dr.
  • St. Mary’s University – 2507 N.W. 36th St.
  • The Neighborhood Place – 3014 Rivas St.
  • Wille C. Velasquez Center – 1302 N. Zarzamora St.
  • Hill Country Community Needs Council – 1904 N. Llano St., Fredericksburg, Texas

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