Filing for Taxes? Get Free Help at the Island University

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Filing taxes can be a tedious and confusing process to navigate.

To help with that, qualifying individuals and families can receive free assistance from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Business students who are offering complimentary tax filing aid this season. The service is provided through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and runs through April 15. Last year, Islander students prepared tax returns for more than 3,300 Corpus Christi residents resulting in a total earned income tax credits of $1.3 million, according to Dr. John Gamble, College of Business Dean.

“Volunteering gives students experience in putting together a tax return, using tax software, interacting with clients, and learning what questions to ask and how to ask them,” said Ginger DeLatte, professional assistant professor of accounting. “It’s a great opportunity for students of any major to help people.” 

Each VITA program volunteer must attend training sessions conducted by IRS certified instructors and pass an exam before assisting taxpayers.

“I like seeing how much people benefit from this program,” said Peyton Fussee-Durham, a senior accounting major and VITA volunteer. “I keep coming back because I can see the impact it has on other people’s lives. Each time I do it, I fall more and more in love with being able to be out there and help people.”

For the first time, community members and Islanders can access the service on campus. The new site offers evening and weekend hours that were unavailable in previous years and, the campus location better serves the nearby military community in need of tax assistance, according to DeLatte.

“Helping our students and the faculty and staff who qualify is a positive,” DeLatte said. “But, really, the idea of being able to serve those who served us was the major onus behind getting a location here.”

The new location is in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s O’Connor Business Building room 135. The hours are:

  • Friday 2-6 p.m.
  • Saturday 1-6 p.m.
  • Sunday 1-6 p.m.

What should you bring?

  • Picture ID
  • Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter for all individuals listed on the return
  • W-2s, 1099s, and all other tax-related documents for 2018
  • Form 1095-A, B or C Health Insurance Coverage Statement
  • All 1098 E&T forms for education expenses
  • Childcare provider name, address, phone number and tax ID number
  • Voided check if using direct deposit for refund
  • Copy of your 2017 return, if applicable
  • For joint returns, both spouses must be present to sign required forms

The VITA program, an initiative sponsored by the IRS, offers free tax help to qualifying families, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. It is sponsored by the United Way of the Coastal Bend VITA Coalition. For more information, a list of VITA locations, and how to volunteer, visit the United Way of the Coastal Bend website.