By: Sarris Balcerzak ~Staff Writer~
Employed students now have the opportunity to have their tax returns done for free through the XU accounting students and the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).
Starting every Monday evening from Feb. 16 to April 13 in Cintas Banquet Rooms, one free tax preparation assistance will be provided from 6-7 p.m.
Dr. Pricilla O’Clock started the program as a volunteer service on Saturdays and later transferred it into a class tailored to accounting students who have taken “Introduction to Taxation.” Students who utilize this opportunity can earn one or two semesters worth of credit.
During the first year, students act as preparers and sit with the taxpayer and prepare the return. Second year students are promoted to reviewers who simply look over the return and sign off on its completion.
Dr. David Randolph is taking over the VITA program this year.
VITA is unique in that it is both a Xavier course and an organization sponsored by the IRS. The business helps with tax preparation assistance for low-income, elderly and student taxpayers. Xavier accounting students serve the Xavier, Norwood, Evanston and Avondale communities with basic federal and state income taxes.
Participants must bring all W2 forms, which should be mailed to the taxpayer by employers, 1099 forms, 1095-A (for insurance purchased through the market place, unless tax payer and dependents were covered by health insurance form) and 1095-B, relating to the Affordable Care Act.
Proof of identity is necessary (a passport, driver’s license or any other form of photo ID is acceptable), as well as any social security cards for the taxpayer and his or her spouse or dependents.
Any other tax-related documents and last year’s tax return should also be brought to the appointment if possible, but this is not mandatory.
Senior Erica Mazzoni acted as a greeter her first year and organized the clients’ appointment information. Last spring she took VITA as a class and worked as a preparer. This spring she earns the title of reviewer.
“We get people from all walks of life with a wide variety of life stories. Generally, the people we help are extremely thankful for the service we provide. The class is different from anything else I have taken because the students interact with the taxpayers and have the ability to get to know them. The students are able to directly see an impact they are making on another’s life.” Mazzoni said.
This is the 21st year that VITA has offered Xavier students this service. Appointments are made on a first-come, first-serve basis. To schedule an appointment or ask for additional information call 513-745-2828 or email email@example.com.