VITA tops half million dollars in income tax refunds


Colorado State Representative Ed Vigil visited the Adams State free income tax site on Saturday, March 2. Pictured, left to right, VITA student volunteers include Evan Dick, Arial Brauer, Sydni Hudspeth, Jose Barela, (Representative Vigil), Fabian Omana, Tiffany Leggett, and Jordan McHenry.

The Adams State University volunteer income tax return program (VITA) has topped the half-million dollar mark. In its fourth year of partnership with the Piton Foundation, the VITA program utilizes university students from the accounting and other departments of the Adams State School of Business to prepare and file tax returns for San Luis Valley residents earning less than $50,000 per year.

By March 2, the total number of free returns processed by the Adams State team has resulted in over $750,000 in tax refunds to area residents.

According to Adams State's VITA Coordinator, assistant professor Sheryl Abeyta, over 40 students volunteered to become certified through the IRS, to serve as tax preparers and help San Luis Valley residents. Many of these students aspire to become future accountants and tax preparers.

"The students are discovering the gratification that comes with helping people who rely on every dollar of their hard earned incomes," Abeyta said. Over 360 residents have had their income tax return processed through Adams State.

Adams State's School of Business Chair, Michael Tomlin, said: "The exciting thing is that every penny of these refunds comes right back to the people who live here and work here; and it supports our local communities and strengthens our economy."

The Adams State site will be closed March 9 through March 17 for spring break. Located in the School of Business lobby, hours will resume March 18: 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Mondays and 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays, through April 13.

Families or individuals whose annual income is under $50,000 qualify for the free service.

Make sure to bring the following documents with you to the tax site:

  • All W-2, 1099s and other income-related documents.
  • Proof of mortgage interest, property taxes, daycare payments, college education expenses, charitable contributions and all other tax-deductible expenses.
  • Social Security Cards for all family members.
  • A copy of last year's tax return, if available.
  • Bank account number and routing number to direct deposit your refund. With direct deposits, refunds are received in 7–10 days.

For more details and the locations of all free tax sites in Colorado, dial 2-1-1, a free call, or visit The Piton Foundation. Cell phone users call the Adams State School of Business at 719-587-7316.