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  Friday November 21st, 2014    

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VITA Offers Free Tax Help (02/09/2006)
Winona State University's Accounting Department sponsors free tax help through the VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) from now until April 10. In addition to free preparation of federal and state tax returns, the program also offers free electronic filing.

The VITA program is offered through the Internal Revenue Service and provides free assistance to low- to moderate-income individuals who cannot prepare their own tax returns. To qualify for assistance, a person must meet the following income limits: for dependents, $10,000; for singles, $18,000; for families of two, $25,000; and for families of more than two, $30,000.

Winona State University began participating in the VITA program in 1994 under the direction of Accounting Department Chairperson Richard Schneider. Last year, more than 300 individuals were assisted through VITA. The program is run entirely by student volunteers who are required, at minimum, to have taken a basic income tax class. The students then participate in training sessions, prepare practice tax returns and must pass a VITA test prior to meeting with clients.

For the 2006 tax season, eleven student volunteers are available to offer tax assistance. The majority of VITA clients are students, but community members are also invited to participate.

Assistance is offered Wednesday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to

3 p.m., in Room 213B, on the second floor of Somsen Hall. The service is not offered over spring break, March 10-20, but resumes Wednesday, March 22. Clients are asked to bring photo identification, a social security card, wage and earning statements from all employers, interest and dividend statements from banks, copies of 2005 Federal and State returns if available, bank routing and account numbers for Direct Deposit and other relevant information about income and expenses.

Appointments are required and can be scheduled by calling 507-457-2433 during open hours. The average appointment lasts approximately 30 to 45 minutes. The appointment calendar fills quickly, said Fred Ihrke, professor of Accounting, so it is best to make an appointment "sooner rather than later."

For more information, contact Ihrke at 507-457-5185 or email firhrke@winona.edu. 

 

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