VITA hosts final volunteer training before tax season begins Tuesday

Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 8:03 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Staff at the North Texas Area United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program are ready to open their doors on Jan. 25 to clients who need a hand getting their income taxes done.

“There’s like five different ways or more ways you can go through the training. The most difficult one is to sit down and read the book and take two to three weeks going through PowerPoints,” said Genevieve Anderson, director of the VITA program.

For the past two weeks, Anderson has been training VITA volunteers and explaining to them an easier way to file tax returns and get their certification.

“We go through everything and we do more hands-on so you’re not just reading it and it’s not registering to you. We do different scenarios to where it’s like if this person comes in with this problem this is where you’re going to have to look for the answer, this is where you’re going to have to look for the solution or how you process it that’s the way I teach,” said Anderson.

There are VITA volunteers who have been helping the community with free tax services for several years and some. have even helped start a VITA site at the Edwards Public Library for families in Clay County.

“When I first started I was scared of this program! I just didn’t know if I was going to do it right or not but you always have someone to help you. The more classes you take the more you understand and there are always changes to tax laws. We are the only ones there to do taxes. We don’t have AARP or any programs like that come into the county. So the residents are very happy and they start asking in August when are the tax people coming,” said Norma Ruiz-Hearne, a VITA volunteer and program coordinator of the VITA site in Clay County.

VITA volunteers can range from ages 13 years old to 80 years old.

“I get a lot of shocked looks and people usually think I’m a student at MSU. I decided to do this because a friend of mine was talking about it one day and I realized it was a cool skill to have. Especially as an adult, you always have to do taxes so I figured I might as well learn it for myself and help other people in the process. The VITA volunteers program is great for anybody to do no matter if you’re young or old. There are a lot of great opportunities, internships, volunteers hours and just having a fun time.” said Prasi Desai, a volunteer with the VITA program.

Anderson said there are no more appointments available on Jan. 25 and the following day is almost booked as well. As of right now, they have a steady number of daytime volunteers but there are only has four volunteers who can work in the evenings. The tax season usually lasts three months unless the IRS makes a decision to extend the filing deadline.

To find out how you can volunteer, visit the VITA website

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