|VITA Volunteers Provide Return Assistance for Low-Income Taxpayers
For the sixth year, Lebanon Valley College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will help low-income, elderly, and otherwise disadvantaged taxpayers prepare their federal, state, and local taxes through April 11.
“Last year, the VITA crew helped 214 taxpayers bring back close to $250,000 in refunds. VITA is a very strong, nationwide, grass roots, community service activity that we are proud to be an important part of,” said Dr. David Rudd, Eugene C. Fish Distinguished Chair of Business and professor and chair of business and economics.
Fourteen students, who are primarily accounting majors at the College, will prepare returns, manage client intake, schedule appointments, make copies, and file documentation under the supervision of Brion Smoker, CPA. All students that volunteer complete a training program and must pass a test to become a certified VITA tax preparer.
Those who have incomes under $51,000 for 2012 and have fairly simple returns are eligible for the free service. The crew works with a screening tool to talk the client through their eligibility and ensure they know what documentation to bring to their appointment.
On average, the students will aid in preparing 25 tax returns a week.
“If these people [who are eligible] go to professionals for their tax services, they will be charged a fee. When they come to VITA, they get the same services for free,” Rudd said.
This year, VITA will be held in the activities room in the lower level of Mund College Center.
Appointments may be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday appointments are also available Feb. 23 and March 23 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. by calling 867-6054. Appointments are required.
Other VITA sites in Lebanon include the Democratic Party Headquarters, Hispanic Center, and VA Medical Center. Appointments for those locations can be made by calling 274-9328.
To help preparers determine eligibility, individuals should bring the following:
Social Security cards for themselves, their spouse, and all dependents or Social Security number verification letters issued by the Social Security Administration
Birth dates for all persons listed on the tax return
Wage and earning statement(s) Forms W-2, W-2G, and 100-R, from all employers
Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
Copies of their prior year federal and state returns, if available
Bank routing and account numbers for refund direct deposits
Other relevant information about income and expenses
Amounts paid for day care, if applicable, and the day care provider’s identifying number
Both spouses must be present to sign joint returns.