IU VITA program offers free tax assistance
Feb. 6, 2013
Students at several IU campuses are providing free tax assistance to low-income, elderly, disabled and limited-English-speaking residents over the next month.
The students are participating in the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
Students from the IU Maurer School of Law and the Kelley School of Business in Bloomington are hosting a walk-in clinic at the law school from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through March 7 in Room 125. Saturday sessions will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 2 and 23 in Rooms 200 and 202 of the undergraduate building of the Kelley School of Business. All program volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS.
Those with an annual income of $51,000 or less are eligible for the free tax preparation help, provided they have not received income from the sale of stocks, mutual funds or homes and do not own businesses.
Student assistants can help qualifying taxpayers navigate the often complex task of filing state and federal tax returns, said Patrick Thomas, an IU Maurer School of Law student and one of the school's VITA program coordinators.
VITA is also helping Northwest Indiana families with their taxes this year. On most Friday evenings through April, families with less than $50,000 annual income may take advantage of tax assistance at the IU Northwest School of Business and Economics.
VITA sessions take place by appointment on Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Dunes Medical/Professional Building at IU Northwest.
Families are asked to bring all W-2 forms, 1099’s, Social Security and government payment notices, any tax rebate amounts received, and any other notices of income, mortgage interest, taxes paid, qualified tuition payments, contributions, rents paid, names and addresses of landlords, and any other tax-related information, as well as all family and dependent Social Security cards and birthdates.
Graduate students at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis are helping low-income residents to prepare for tax season. Approximately 60 Kelley students have volunteered their time in the VITA program in the past three years.
"Our volunteers have the potential to make a difference in someone's life by offering them access to tools on how to become financially fit," said First Lady of Indianapolis Winnie Ballard.
About 20 IU Southeast graduate students are volunteering through VITA this year.
Sessions are on Saturdays through April 13 at the Community Action/Head Start Building in Jeffersonville. IU Southeast works in tandem with the Institute of Management Accountants Louisville chapter on VITA tax preparation. Additional volunteers from that institute often work with IU Southeast graduate students during the sessions.