Accounting students from Clayton State University will conclude their 25th year of participation in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program on Saturday, Mar. 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room T-152 of the College of Business. Taxpayers will be assisted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Clayton State is the only college or university in the state that has offered this service consistently for 25 years.
As WSB-TV consumer investigator Jim Strickland reported from Clayton State yesterday, tax scams are everywhere, including a current one targeted to college students that is aimed at collecting Social Security numbers with the promise of a $1000 tax refund, even if the individual in question didn’t have a job last year. Strickland noted the irony of trying to scam Clayton State students on taxes, since the University’s VITA program provides tax services for students and the general public for free. The University has also notified students, via email and the internal Inside Clayton State website, about the current scam.
“Our highly trained volunteers are eager to begin working with the public in order to make their tax preparation experience stress-free,” says Professor Judith Ogden, College of Business faculty member who was featured in Strickland’s story, and who is spending her 10th year with VITA at Clayton State, and her 17th year with VITA nationwide. “It gives our students hands-on experience, and provides a valuable service to the public. We have taxpayers who return every year.”
VITA is a national program that provides tax support for certain eligible taxpayers. The program, which has been in existence for more than 40 years, is also an experiential learning experience for Clayton State students, providing the volunteers with extensive IRS training and testing, enabling them to ensure that taxpayers will have their tax returns filled out accurately and timely and receive the tax credits they qualify for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
The VITA program also prepares state income tax returns and provides free e-filing options to ensure clients receive their refunds as soon as possible.
Those who are eligible to receive this service are taxpayers who make under $51,000 a year and wish to receive help with their 2014 personal income taxes using Forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and simple1040s. The program does not provide assistance with out-of-state or small business returns, or for those who are self-employed.
Those interested in receiving this assistance must bring the following items:
ü Photo identification,
ü Social security cards for themselves, their spouse, and dependents,
ü Birthdates for primary, secondary, and dependents on the tax return
ü Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1009-R, from all employers
ü Interest and dividend statements from bank(s), Form 1099
ü Other relevant information about income and expenses
o Day care provider identifying number
o Total amount paid for day care
ü A copy of last year’s federal and state income tax returns if possible,
ü Bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit.
Please note that both spouses will need to be present to file electronically.