RALEIGH, N.C. (4/20/09)--State Employees’ CU (SECU) of North Carolina reported that its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program staff completed more than 25,000 returns, generating more than $33 million in total refunds during this year’s tax season. Last year, News Now reported that SECU helped 15,000 qualifying individuals claim more than $8 million in tax credits over a three-month span (April 25, 2008). “The dramatic increase in the volume of returns processed through SECU’s VITA program this year is proof of the positive difference SECU is making for North Carolinians,” said Josh Kelly, SECU senior vice president of tax preparation services. About $3.75 million was saved in preparation fees typically charged by for-profit tax preparation services, SECU said. The VITA program also generated $15.7 million in tax credits, including $9.7 million in Earned Income Tax Credits and $5.2 million in Child Tax Credits. SECU offered consumers a tax refund anticipation loan with the VITA program, which saved members $50,000 in interest expense costs, compared with a traditional refund anticipation product. By promoting e-filing and direct deposit, SECU also helped consumers avoid $175,000 in refund anticipation loan costs. All 223 SECU branch locations served as VITA sites, with three credit union staff members trained as VITA preparers at each branch.