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IRS awards grant to LU to expand outreach services

The Lamar University Community Outreach Program has been awarded a grant from the Internal Revenue Service to increase earned income tax credit (EITC) awareness and education, provide financial education and economic development. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (V.I.T.A) Grant Program, the outreach program is providing services for individuals and families, students, senior citizens, and non-English speaking people in Southeast Texas.

Tax preparation sessions at the following community tax centers are scheduled to begin every Wednesday and Saturday starting Feb. 22. Services will be offered at the following sites: Downtown Beaumont Library, 801 Pearl St., Beaumont, Texas; Elmo Willard Library, 3570 East Lucas, Beaumont, Texas; Theodore Johns Library, 4255 Fannett Rd, Beaumont, Texas; Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 921 Hwy. 124, Winnie, Texas and Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 3730 Farm Rd. 160 N, Raywood, Texas.

Trained volunteers from the community, as well as students and staff from the university, will help individuals and families identify special credits, such as the EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly, for which they may qualify. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, the sites will also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper and even faster if the refund is deposited directly into a bank account.

“If you have not yet filed your 2010 tax return, please consider filing through the Community Tax Center,” said Elton C. Payne, Jr., program manager. “Our e-filing system is as efficient as any other tax preparer or software.”

Walk-in customers are welcome. Interested persons should contact (409) 880-7983 for more information on sites and times in Beaumont, Texas. Those seeking information on services in Winnie and Raywood should contact the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at 409-296-2898 or 936-587-4631.

About the Lamar University Community Tax Center Program:

The Community Tax Center Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income ($45,000 and below) individuals who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Volunteer tax preparers receive training and certification from the Internal Revenue Service. Program sponsors include Lamar University, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, City of Beaumont Public Libraries, Entergy Texas and Internal Revenue Service.