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United Way VITA Program Stimulates Local Economy
published April 2016

5.3 Million Dollars returned to local families
Pictured Here Left to Right: Mr. & Mrs. Heredia, clients, Marlen Ramirez, VITA Supervisor and Bruce Ramirez, VITA Volunteer
United Way of South Texas proudly funds and administers an important program that provides free income tax preparation services to thousands of local families. The support of our donors and the following charitable local corporations makes this possible: AEP Texas, BBVA, Frost Bank, HEB, IRS, Lone Star National Bank, Magic Valley Electric Co-op, McAllen Chamber of Commerce, Security Service FCU and Wells Fargo. Families and individuals with household incomes of $54,000 or less in 2015, are eligible to benefit from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The income level is determined by the IRS annually.

Approximately 175 United Way volunteers have been working diligently at 12 sites that serve families in Hidalgo & Starr Counties. Most sites will close after the first week of April, however, you may call United Way for information about 2 locations that will remain open through April 14th. To date, over 2,300 families have been served, with total income tax returns of $5,513,400. In addition, we estimate that we have saved these individuals approximately $354,151 in preparation costs.

Sites are located throughout United Way's two-county service area. Per IRS reports, the following totals can be reported by geographic areas: Mid Valley, $722,858, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo/ Edinburg, $740,894, McAllen/Mission/ La Joya, $3,370,878 and Starr County, $678,770.

Families use their returns and the money they save by utilizing the free service for many purposes, including paying their home taxes, children's college tuition, opening savings accounts and medical bills.

If you have questions about the VITA program, please contact Beth at 956- 686-6331. United Way of South Texas supports over 30 non-profit agencies in our community that serve a minimum of 285,000 local residents.