Published January 28, 2015

Many happy returns

MC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is back for 16th year
For the 16th year, Monmouth College will offer computerized tax preparation and e-filing (federal and state) at no cost to the taxpayer, beginning in February. This service, which will be available at the college’s Center for Science and Business, is provided in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
 
Accounting professor Judy Peterson, coordinator of MC’s program, said VITA has a two-fold purpose: service and education for the community, and citizenship and education for the students. She also noted an important change that will affect the early stages of this year’s program.
 
“Only those taxpayers earning $53,000 or less may come the first weeks (Feb. 2 – 14),” she said. “Others with higher incomes may start coming on Feb. 16. We will let you know if your return items are within the parameters of the VITA program.”
 
The sessions will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays through the end of the tax season.
 
“I also want to remind taxpayers of the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that affect individuals this year,” said Peterson. “Taxpayers should come to their VITA session prepared with knowledge of their health insurance coverage for the whole year, including their dependents.”
 
Peterson also noted that taxpayers who purchased insurance or received an exemption or subsidy need to bring Form 1095-A. If they have not received that form, they need to contact the respective marketplace to obtain it, as it is required.
 
All ages of taxpayers are served, from students through retirees. Taxpayers who use the VITA sites are strongly encouraged to e-file, as they can expect quicker response to their filings, and the IRS can reduce its processing costs.
 
Assistant professor of accounting Connie Mersch will assist Peterson in coordinating the program. Mersch, who joined MC’s faculty in 2011, previously worked in the tax departments of several major companies.
 
Beginning Feb. 2, the tax preparation will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Center for Science and Business (enter through the south doors). The building, located in the 700 block of East Broadway, is handicap accessible.
 
Weekdays sessions will be held 4 – 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through April 15 (except March 9 and March 11). Saturday sessions will be held 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (except March 7 and March 14).
 
“High volume is expected during our first few sessions, and that should be taken into account, especially for those traveling from afar,” added Peterson. “Also, the new ACA provisions might increase the time it takes for some of the filings, so wait times might be a bit longer.”
 
More information, including what to bring to a VITA session in addition to photo identification and Social Security cards, is available at http://ou.monmouthcollege.edu/academics/accounting/vita/
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