Socorro ISD students continue to help residents with free tax preparation through April 15 – El Paso Herald Post

High school students in the Socorro Independent School District, through a partnership with GECU and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), are offering tax preparation services now through April 15 at Americas, Eastlake, Socorro, Montwood, El Dorado and Pebble Hills high schools.

The students are enrolled in various Career and Technical Education courses. Instructors, along with the students, have earned either a basic and/or advanced certification in order to be prepared to help community members file their taxes free of charge.

“These students are more than prepared for this,” said Dahlia Acosta, SISD Career and Technical Education facilitator. “Not only are most of them business majors, but in order for them to be a tax preparer, they have to take a test and pass it.”

Taxpayers with an annual income of $60,000 or less can show up to one of the sites between 4:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. to file their 1040 EZ, 1040A and 1040 forms.

Taxpayers who are disabled, elderly or limited English speakers who make above the maximum income may still be assisted in their tax preparations.

“It feels really great to be able to prepare taxes for people,” said Eastlake High School senior and business student Lenea Granados. “Not only do I benefit from it, but so does my family and the community.”

The process has been adjusted this year to incorporate safety measures and social distancing. Clients may drop off their documents at the high school through a drive-through service.

The tax preparation program teacher/supervisor will assign the cases to a student who will prepare the paperwork.

The clients then have the option to either sign electronically or return to the campus to sign their tax return. Throughout the process, tax preparers will ensure confidentiality and security of documents.

“The most important thing is making sure our students are safe,” said Claudia Rodriguez, business teacher at Eastlake High School. “We have great students who are willing to still come in and get these services done for our community.”

Individuals getting their taxes prepared should take a photo identification card, original social security card for everyone listed in the income tax return, W-2 wage statements for the 2020 year, 1099-SSA, 1099-R and 1099-G, work expenses, 1095 health coverage, direct deposit information, the 1098 for student loans, proof of child dependent care expenses, and property tax statements.

If filing joint, both individuals must be present.

In addition, when dropping off documents, individuals must know how much money they received in each stimulus checks this past year.

“It’s heartwarming to see these students so dedicated to giving these services to their community,” said Christopher Nwihim, business academy coordinator at Pebble Hills High School. “They know that during these times, we all need to stick together and help each other out.”

SISD income tax preparation sites and schedule:

Socorro High School, 10150 Alameda Dr.
Mondays, March 8-April 12
(Closed March 15-19 and March 22)

Montwood High School, 12000 Montwood Dr.
Tuesdays, March 9-April 13
(Closed March 15-19)

Eastlake High School, 13000 Emerald Pass
Tuesdays, March 9-April 13
(Closed March 15-19)

El Dorado High School, 12401 Edgemere Blvd
Wednesdays, March 10-April 14
(Closed March 15-19)

Americas High School, 12101 Pellicano Dr.
Thursdays, March 4-April 15
(Closed March 15-19)

Pebble Hills High School, 14400 Pebble Hills Blvd
Thursdays, March 4-April 15
(Closed March 15-19)