By John F. Barton
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
Do you need free help with your income tax this year? Do you make less than $55,000 a year?
If so, the University of the Incarnate Word can help through its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which it launched last Saturday, Feb. 7, and will continue to run 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays through April 14.
Those seeking help need to come during those hours to Room 126 of the Joyce Building.
Although the doors don’t open until 10, be sure to bring appropriate tax documents and be prepared to wait. One patron told the Logos she had been waiting since 7:10 last Saturday.
“We have had to turn away some people since 9 o’clock,” said Theresa Tiggeman, an accounting professor at UIW who helps manage the program — the oldest continuous running VITA site in San Antonio. Tiggeman started volunteering with the program even before she began working at UIW.
Most of the volunteers are undergraduate accounting students but some are professors, grad students, and community volunteers. All must be certified by the Internal Revenue Service and meet their standard of conduct certification as well. Some staff members are charged with quality assurance so VITA can ensure clientele receive the most accurate tax help available.
The first Saturday, Bee Abercrombie, a community volunteer, was serving as intake specialist when Edward Perez and his family checked in. Abercrombie was busy running around with stacks of paperwork and identification documents attached to clipboards. She is the first person many of the clients encounter when they walk in and can answer most questions about getting started.
Perez had been waiting a couple of hours when Abercrombie checked him in. Volunteer Jae Yung checks on clients’ documentation.
“They need to have a driver’s license and Social Security card,” Yung said, and last year’s tax return, any W-2s or 1099s, or related tax documents would be needed for the best assistance.
Perez, who has a daughter who graduated from UIW, said he has been using VITA for a number of years.
“I would recommend it,” Perez said.