Monmouth College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) assisted on a record number of 512 federal returns this year, according to accounting professor Judy Peterson, who directs the program, along with department colleague Connie Mersch.
“I was concerned that our numbers would be much lower because of our new location,” said Peterson. “We only had one location this year (down from three in previous years). But they found us, and they loved our new digs” in the college’s new Center for Science and Business.
The accounting wing of the recently completed building features seven state-of-the-art breakout rooms, specially designed to allow VITA preparers and clients privacy and comfort in completing returns. Peterson said that traffic “flowed much better because of the new environment.”
Taxpayers informed VITA personnel that a basic tax return (including a state return) with no other schedules would have cost $152 through a commercial preparer..
“Multiplying our federal return count times $152, we would like to believe we helped save the community at least $77,824,” said Peterson, who noted that 30 Monmouth students participated in VITA this year.
This was the 15th year that Monmouth College has offered free computerized tax preparation and e-filing. Both Peterson and Mersch are certified public accountants with previous experience in the corporate sector.