Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program


Location:2019 Location to be announced
Hours:From May 15 thru October 15, the Dallas Community Tax Centers (VITA) will operate a year-around tax office open to complete prior years (2014 – 2017) tax returns, amended returns, and ITIN applications and renewals

For additional information about this FREE service, please see www.dallastaxcenters.org. For other Community Tax Center locations — click here.

About FRI VITA Program

Ferguson Road Initiative’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) initiative offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing.

Started in 2005 and today is a collaborative venture between Foundation Communities, United Way of Greater Dallas, State Rep. Eric Johnson, and the IRS. Annually we recruit, train and deploy between 50-80 volunteers, certified by the IRS. This past year FRI’s VITA Initiative was hosted by the White Rock Church of Christ. This coming tax season starting the last Saturday in January will be hosted by the First Community Church of Dallas (http://fccdfw.org/).

FRI, as part of the collaborative partners above, works in partnership with over 50 IRS-sponsored free tax preparation sites throughout the DFW area. For a complete list of sites, please visit United Way’s www.MyMoneyDFW.com.

Since its establishment in 2005, our program has completed over 9,376 tax returns, keeping over $16,300,000 in federal refunds within our community. It’s important to note, without this program our families would have to pay a minimum of $150 to have someone else prepare and e-file their returns. More importantly, many of these families would fall prey to expensive “rapid refund” loans with predatory interest rates as high as 500-600%.

FRI utilizes computer equipment that has been donated over the years, and covers expenses with funds provided by Foundation Communities, United Way and a grant from the IRS. Our present computers were provided by the Episcopal School of Dallas. While many of our volunteers are college students from UT Dallas and SMU, FRI actively seeks neighborhood volunteers to prepare taxes and to welcome taxpayers to our center. Some of our senior volunteers have been working with our initiative from the beginning with more than 12 years of experience.

One unique aspect of our service has included helping taxpayers resolve and/or file late prior year returns, state returns when they have worked outside of Texas in States with state income taxes and service to individuals who do not have social security numbers.

This service provides North Texas families and individuals the opportunity to reach financial stability through a multitude of programs, including free income tax preparation, one-on-one financial coaching and assistance, college financial aid, and more. Individuals who would like to prepare and file their own taxes can visit United Way’s www.MyFreeTaxes.com if they earn less than $64,000/yr.

For the 2016 Tax Preparation Year, ending in April 2017, our statistics and highlights were as follows:  

  • 1,500 families served
  • 1,366 tax returns prepared/filed/accepted, including
    • 13 other state returns and
    • 36 previous year returns
  • $2,776,104 in refunds.
  • Average AGI for families served as $27,158
  • We had 69 volunteers who contributed 1,251 hours of service
  • 37% were return clients and 63% were new clients
  • 12.5% of our new clients used a paid preparer last year
  • 60% of clients identified as Hispanic
    • 50% said they spoke Spanish in their homes
  • 13% Black/African American
  • 8% White
  • 19% Asian & Other
  • 6% indicated that either they or a family member were disabled
  • 1,422 responded to the following questions:
    • 31 indicated they needed financial literacy training
    • 77 indicated that they needed a GED/ESL or basic literacy training
    • 236 were interested in savings opportunities
    • 171 were not confident/  less than confident about meeting their financial obligations
      • 14% had been late on bills and/or paid late fees in the past 3 months
      • 32% were going to use their refund to catch up on bills
      • 16 indicated that they were having a problem with a payday loan
    • 9,376 families
    • $16.3MM in refunds
    • Foundation Communities
    • United Way of Greater Dallas
    • Operation Blue Shield
    • First Community Church
    • Access Storage

NOTE: The difference between 1,500 families served and 1,366 tax returns filed is made up of families for which an application was completed, but a return was not submitted… this may be because they did not have all their information, or an extension was filed, or maybe just been seeking financial tax counseling.

The total of 9,376 is not an unduplicated number. Some families have returned every year for 12 years.

Rev. Jun. 2017