WASHINGTON (11/11/09)—At least two credit unions are among the dozens of organizations that were awarded nearly $8 million total in matching grants from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to support the tax agency’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Under the VITA Grant Program, the IRS awarded matching grants to 147 organizations that will offer free tax preparation services during the 2010 filing season at locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Among them were State Employees' CU (SECU) of Raleigh, N.C. and El Paso CU, in Texas. SECU received $150,000 and El Paso CU received $90,0000. VITA is an IRS program that helps low- and moderate-income taxpayers complete their annual tax returns at no cost. Credit unions and community organizations receive IRS-provided training in the preparation of basic tax returns and establishment of tax preparation sites. As reported in News Now earlier this year, SECU reported in April that its VITA staff completed more than 25,000 returns, generating more than $33 million in total refunds during this year's tax season. The previous year, SECU said it helped 15,000 qualifying individuals claim more than $8 million in tax credits over a three-month span. The IRS said there was a strong response to the 2010 VITA grant program with 360 organizations submitting applications requesting more than $30 million in matching funds, similar to the prior year. The VITA program has the backing of the National Credit Union Administration, and the agency has encouraged credit unions to participate.