Mays Business School at Texas A&M University will again partner with the United Way of the Brazos Valley to provide free income tax return preparation to qualifying taxpayers in the Brazos Valley. Mays Business School students will serve as IRS-certified volunteer preparers for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The students will prepare and electronically file federal income tax returns for eligible taxpayers at no cost.

To arrange to have your taxes prepared by volunteers, please call the United Way information and referral service by dialing 2-1-1. The operators will confirm you are eligible for the service and will provide information about which documents to bring. Appointments are not required to receive tax help, but are recommended to avoid waiting.

For the second year in a row, Mays students will partner with the United Way of the Brazos Valley to provide free income tax return preparation assistance for qualifying taxpayers.
For the second year in a row, Mays students will partner with the United Way of the Brazos Valley to provide free income tax return preparation assistance for qualifying taxpayers.

Tax return preparation will take place from January 30 through April 15, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Services will be offered at the Center for Regional Services (3991 E 29th Street, Bryan), as well as many other locations in Bryan/College Station and surrounding counties. Dial 2-1-1 to find additional locations and dates.

This is the second year Mays students will volunteer for VITA. Their efforts will net them more than good karma: The students will also earn course credit. Their volunteer service is part of the course “Special Topics in Tax—Federal Taxation of Low Income Filers: Socio-Economic Forces.” In the classroom, they will study federal income tax legislation and its impact on low-income filers, and the socio-economic forces impacting low-income families and individuals. In addition, each student must log 54 volunteer hours of service with the VITA program. To find more about the class, see “Students help ease the stress of tax season” (MBO, March 2009).

Adam Myers, instructor for the course, says working people who may not otherwise be required to file a tax return are encouraged to file a return to receive the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a special tax benefit designed to improve the financial situation of people who work but earn low wages. Many filers who qualify for the EITC receive a cash refund. Free electronic filing through VITA speeds receipt of the refunds. A speedier refund could save a taxpayer substantially, as it may prevent some from being enticed by an expensive refund anticipation loan. The refunds generated from the EITC also help the local economy. The average 2008 EITC for Texans was $2,313.86, and this year, the EITC could put up to $5,657 in the pockets of eligible taxpayers. The new maximum credit for tax year 2009 is $5,657 for a family with three or more children; $5,028 for a family with two children; $3,043 for a family with one child; and $457 if there are no children.

For more information, please call the United Way information and referral service by dialing 2-1-1.