San Antonio Business Journal (Texas)
By: Tamarind Phinisee
March 27, 2012
Families and individuals around the city are being offered an extra incentive to file their federal income taxes via area Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.
Those who do will have a chance to participate in the SaveUSA program - a match-savings program coordinated by United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, the Antioch Community Transformation Network, Guadalupe Community Center, YWCA, and The Neighborhood Place.
As part of the program, eligible tax filers will have the opportunity to receive a 50 percent match up to $500, if they deposit at least $200 of their tax refund into a "SaveUSA Account" and maintain the initial deposit for approximately one year.
Families earning less than $50,000 and individuals earning less than $25,000 are eligible to open the account in San Antonio.
Anna Weaver, a United Way representative, says San Antonio is one of four cities to participate in the savings program which is being funded through a Social Innovation Fund. The goal is to encourage saving and asset building habits in key communities.
Weaver says SaveUSA is using the program to encourage VITA filers to begin saving their money, "a habit which is absolutely crucial for fostering increased self-sufficiency and transformative economic growth among hard-working, vulnerable residents in the community."
VITA tax filers also will have the option of opening U.S. Savings Bonds at select sites with part or all of their tax refunds and earning a $25 gift card.
The deadline for federal income tax filings is Tuesday, April 17.
Those who need to file basic tax returns and who earned up to $55,000 last year can visit any one of the 23 area VITA sites for free tax preparation and electronic filing. All tax returns are prepared by trained, IRS-certified volunteers. To find a VITA/SaveUSA site, visit www.vitasa.org.
San Antonio's VITA program is coordinated through a collaborative partnership between the IRS and the Alamo City Coalition for Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS).
This coalition consists of multiple San Antonio community agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges/universities, local financial institutions and corporate partners. It is led by the City of San Antonio, United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, and Catholic Charities of San Antonio, Inc.
Funding for VITA sites and operations is made possible through coalition partners.