Tax Preparation

SIU accounting college students provide free tax preparation companies

CARBONDALE – Free income tax preparation services will soon be available to many people thanks to a group of specially trained Carbondale students from Southern Illinois University.

Beta Alpha Psi, a business and analytics college, honors the student accounting organization and sponsors the popular free VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program for low and middle income community members in 2021.

“By attending VITA, students can gain useful knowledge, hands-on experience and provide valuable tax assistance to the community,” said Allison Bone, an accounting student from Lincoln, Illinois who serves as the VITA 2021 program coordinator.

Salukis have been doing this valuable charitable service for more than 25 years and help up to 200 or more people every year.

• Starts March 6th

Complimentary tax preparation assistance will be offered every Saturday from March 6 through April 3 in the computer room on the lower level of Rehn Hall, 1025 Lincoln Drive, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, state and campus security is being followed. The protocols put a maximum of 50 people in the tax clinic at any given time and a requirement that all people present wear masks.

“We are excited to be able to offer this valuable service again and want to make sure that students and the community are safe,” said Benna Williams, professor at the School of Accountancy and former tax advisor serving as Beta Alpha Psi Advisor acts.

• Students are well trained for the job

Bone took part in training courses to prepare for her leadership role. She will lead a team of approximately two dozen accounting students who will donate their time and energy to prepare tax returns for community members and students who meet the qualifications. Each of the tax advisors is an IRS certified volunteer who has completed mandatory ethics and tax auditing courses. Bone will review returns and assist with questions, as will Williams and other members of the SIU faculty.

• Who qualifies?

The services are available to any US citizen, single or married, as long as their income does not exceed $ 57,000 and they are receiving the federal standard withholding.

Students prepare tax returns that include wages / salaries, interest income, dividends received, and government tax refunds. Unemployment benefits, IRA distributions, retirement income, social security benefits, simple capital gains or losses, self-employment income, gambling profits, education credits, earned income credits, child tax credits, and limited individual deductions.

Unfortunately, they cannot prepare tax returns for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or tax returns that are Schedule C Losses, Complicated Capital Gains and Losses (Schedule D), Non-Deductible IRAs (Form 8606), and Minors’ Capital Gains (Form 8615) Determination of employee status for the purpose of federal labor tax and withholding tax (Form SS-8), tax credits (Parts 4 and 5 of Form 8962) or the foreign tax return.

• What to bring

In order to be able to use the free tax preparation, employees should bring all necessary documents with them. This includes a legal ID such as a driver’s license or passport as well as social security cards and dates of birth (possibly also for spouses and relatives).

Also bring tax documents with you, including: all official wage, earnings, interest and dividend declarations, and copies of last year’s tax declarations, if available. Anyone applying for a childcare loan must also bring the childcareer’s tax identification number (either the social security number or the employer’s identification number) and the amount paid for the childcare. Bring a blank check or other proof of forwarding bank account and direct deposit account numbers if you are expecting a tax refund.

For more information, email vita@business.siu.edu or call (618) 453-1407.

Fast work and filing included

VITA services are offered subject to availability. However, individuals may be asked to return later or the following week if necessary to maintain public safety or allow sufficient time for tax preparation.

Note that if a married couple is filing a joint return, they must both be present to sign the required forms. Most returns are made in an hour or less. The free electronic filing is included with tax preparation.

For more information, email vita@business.siu.edu or call (618) 453-1407.

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