With just under a hundred volunteers, St. Mary’s University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program was able to help San Antonians file their federal taxes and get $1.3 million of needed money back into their pockets during these tough economic times.

The 77 percent increase over last year’s returns of $765,000 is remarkable considering there were fewer tax preparer volunteers. This year, 97 volunteers worked more than 3,300 hours, including training, and filed 743 returns at St. Mary’s VITA site. Last year, 147 volunteers worked 3,800 hours and prepared 533 returns. This is the eighth consecutive tax season that St. Mary’s has operated a VITA site.

The mix of volunteers included students, faculty and staff from St. Mary’s University’s Bill Greehey School of Business, the School of Law, the graduate and undergraduate programs. St. Mary’s alumni, community business leaders and volunteers from Wells Fargo/Wachovia also gave of their time.

VITA provides free tax filing services to qualifying families that make less than $55,000 a year. St. Mary’s VITA site is open to the entire community, but specifically targets residents on the Westside within the University’s Neighborhood Revitalization area.

“By utilizing the resources available through the University’s Bill Greehey School of Business, School of Law and our Neighborhood Revitalization Project partners,” said Thomas Madison, Ph.D., VITA Director and Associate Professor and Chair of Accounting, “we are able to reach out into the community and help those who are truly in need. Helping our St. Mary’s neighbors receive all the income tax credits to which they are entitled is truly rewarding for me and all of our volunteers.”

St. Mary’s VITA program is one of the many examples of community service projects that the University community takes on every year.

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