You earned it. Keep it! That's the message United Way of Acadiana is telling people in need of tax preparation services this year.

Margaret Trahan, President/CEO of United Way of Acadiana, says these FREE services are for families and individuals with a combined household income of $50,000 or less. "United Way of Acadiana launched "Earn it. Keep it. Save it." in 2009 to help more families in the region become financially stable. Our goal it to help people whose household income is less than $50,000 get the tax refund they deserve by connecting them with free tax preparation," explained Trahan.

FREE tax prep sites will be open January 22nd through April 15th at 11 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across Acadiana and completed by IRS-certified and trained volunteers. Volunteers work with individuals to get every dollar they deserve, including those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. For a complete directory of VITA site locations and times, please dial 2-1-1 or visit

There will also be three Super Tax Days held in February at different locations in Lafayette:

  • February 2, 2013 from 8am to 1pm at Lafayette Consolidated Government at 111 Shirley Picard Drive.
  • February 6, 2013 from 1pm to 8pm at the Clifton Chenier Center at 220 West Willow Street.
  • February 7, 2013 from 9am to 8pm at the Vermilion Parish Library at 405 E. Victor Street.

"Last year alone, volunteers prepared 2,705 federal returns," says Stephanie Mire with United Way of Acadiana. "Of those, 1,069 EITC-eligible returns were filed, resulting in $1.9 million in Earned Income Tax Credits being claimed by Acadiana residents. Each year, on average, $30 million in Earned Income Tax Credits goes unclaimed in Acadiana because due to a lack of awareness."

"The tax return, with the Earned Income Tax Credit, can increase many individual's income by 20 percent - a margin that could make or break a family by putting them on a different side of the poverty line," Trahan said.