Programs offer multiple sites, options for taxpayers
As part of the public affairs mission at Missouri State University, students from the School of Accountancy will help taxpayers this year through three programs for free tax preparation: the Volunteer Income Tax Clinic, the Low Income Tax Clinic and My Free Taxes. About 50 accounting students each year are trained and IRS certified before volunteering in each of these clinics.
The students “volunteer to provide tax assistance because they enjoy putting their accounting skills to work for others. In the process, they also gain real-world experience working with clients,” says Dr. Kerri Tassin, director of the MSU Low Income Tax and Volunteer Income Tax Clinics. Help with 2013 tax returns will be available through April 12 at scheduled times in Glass Hall on campus and at locations around Springfield. A list of locations and hours of operation is available on the Missouri State Public Service Tax Clinics website.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is open to taxpayers with household incomes of less than $52,000 per year, older adults and taxpayers who speak English as a second language. The VITA program requires taxpayers to come prepared with several documents including photo ID and social security cards for all individuals who will be listed on the return before any assistance can be given. For a complete list of what to bring, visit the VITA webpage. Taxpayers may also call 2-1-1 or (800) 427-4626 for information. To schedule an appointment at Missouri State, call (417) 720-2000 or see the Tax Clinics website for walk-in availability.
The Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC) is open throughout the year and is designed for people with an annual household income of approximately $28,000 or less. For a list of income levels accepted based on family members per household, visit http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm. The LITC offers help for special tax concerns including issues with prior tax returns, liens or levies, compromises, “currently not collectible” status, or understanding letters from the IRS. Call (417) 836-3007 for an appointment.
The School of Accountancy also offers assistance with a fairly new IRS program called “My Free Taxes.” My Free Taxes allows taxpayers to complete their own return online with assistance from MSU students. Eligibility for this program requires an annual household income of less than $58,000. The program helps people get their refunds in a more secure and timely manner than paper filing. No appointment is needed. The link for My Free Taxes can be found on the Tax Clinics website.
The VITA and LITC programs are made possible through assistance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Missouri Department of Revenue, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, BKD, The United Way and many community partners.