On Thursday night, free tax preparation service in the MCC New Media Lab books out within the first hour.
The clients present were mainly adults from the community and those who have previously utilized the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Students and staff who make under $54,000 a year can also take advantage of this service until the tax deadline of April 13.
Offered at a first-come first-served basis, the sessions will be held weekly on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room AS122 which is also known as the New Media Lab.
“We’ve had clients since I’ve been here in 2007. The same client comes every year,” says Alan Floth, site coordinator for VITA services in the MCC Southern & Dobson campus. “They’re used to us and they know we do a good job.”
One of the return clients, Angela Spates, who works as a call center customer service representative, has been utilizing VITA for her taxes for over ten years.
“As far as the process goes, they help you to just organize. It’s not figuring stuff out by yourself, making a mistake and getting audited by the IRS,” Spates explained on why the free service is helpful. “This way you know exactly. By participating in VITA, you know what to bring every year.”
Students and staff who wish to meet with a VITA preparer must have social security numbers for each family member that will be included in the filing as well as other applicable documents such as a 1095-A, childcare provider information and tax ID, bank routing number for direct deposit of tax refund, and last year’s tax returns.
“It’s like a service to the community.” Spates added. “They know a lot of people, you know, are low income… don’t have computer access, and sometimes don’t have the knowledge how to file a tax return.”
When asked what advice she could give to students filing taxes on their own for the first time, Spates suggested, “Let them assist you.”
Go to irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep for more information on VITA and other service locations.