CARBONDALE (WSIL) – Free income tax preparation services will soon be available to many people thanks to a group of students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
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.
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.
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.
- Government tax refunds.
- Unemployment benefit.
- IRA distributions.
- Retirement income.
- Social security benefits.
- Simple capital gains or losses.
- Income from self-employment.
- Gambling winnings.
- Education loans.
- Earned Income Credits.
- Child tax credit.
- Limited individual prints.
Unfortunately, they cannot prepare tax returns for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or tax returns that include:
- Schedule C with losses.
- Complicated capital gains and losses (Appendix D).
- Non-deductible IRA (Form 8606).
- Investment income from minors (Form 8615).
- Determination of employee status for federal labor tax and withholding tax purposes (Form SS-8).
- Bonus tax credits (Parts 4 and 5 of Form 8962).
- Foreign Returns.
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.
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.