State Employees’ Credit Union of Raleigh, N.C., participated in the IRS’ free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for the second year, helping nearly 48,000 members prepare their taxes for free.

The number is 35% more than the 35,000 people who used the service with 1.6 million-member SECU last year.

“Having an additional 237 VITA sites through SECU’s statewide branch network is a critical element in making sure everyone who qualifies for free tax preparation is aware of VITA and can get the help they need,” said Roger D. Burton, territory manager for IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication.

The $21.4 billion credit union also sold tax preparation services to nearly 5,000 members who exceeded the income threshold for the VITA program. It estimates that it saved members $82 million in tax refunds and about $7.9 million in tax preparation fees.

Members using SECU’s services claimed more than $35 million in tax credits, including $20.8 million in earned income tax credits, which often go unclaimed, the credit union said.

SECU is one of a large number of credit unions around the country participating in the VITA program.