By: Hollis Conners ~Features Editor~
Xavier University VITA Program makes a difference in the community.
Xavier accounting students who have completed the Intro to Taxation class have the opportunity to be part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) on campus. The program is a free service for low income tax payers, elderly taxpayers and students who need assistance completing simple tax returns.
Those who participate are all student volunteers working for the taxpayers in Norwood, Evanston and Avondale. VITA is sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and provided in over 12,000 various locations across the country.
The program began in 1969 with the goals of helping low to moderate income workers with their tax returns. “This program gives back to the community because some people might not be able to afford to pay an accountant to do their taxes,” VITA Program participant, Erica Mazzoni said. “We ensure they are receiving the maximum refund possible while following all the tax laws. People who come in are appreciative of what we have to offer them. Many come back year after year.”
The program also provides opportunities for accounting students to gain firsthand experience and practical knowledge. “The accounting majors involved gain realworld experience by using real tax software and doing actual returns,” Mazzoni said. Along with residents in the surrounding community, Xavier students are welcome to make appointments for their own tax returns with the VITA Program.
After scheduling an appointment, the taxpayers meet the student volunteer in Cintas Center banquet rooms one and two. The student then proceeds to help the taxpayer complete his or her tax returns. All taxpayers have to bring their social security card and the social security cards of their spouse and dependents.
The social security numbers on last year’s tax returns or the W-2’s are not sufficient. The taxpayer also needs a photo ID, all W-2 forms and 1099’s or other income and expense documentation. Taxpayers can also bring last year’s tax return, but it is not required. After the student volunteer prepares the tax return, those who participated last year review the work.
All appointments take place at either 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. The official dates are February 17 and 24, March 10, 17, and 31 and April 7 and 14. They are on a first come, first serve basis.
Those wishing to make an appointment can call (513)745-2828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.