It is almost that time to file your taxes, and if you are looking for a little help in doing so, local accounting students are offering their assistance for free.
Accounting students from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are assisting families who make less than $50,000 a year prepare their tax returns. It is part of an Internal Revenue Service program called Voluntary Income Tax Assistance, or VITA.
The program gives students hands-on, real-world experience. Organizers said it is a win-win for students and residents.
"Free tax preps. It's free! And of good quality," Tax Professor Valrie Chambers said. "They are supervised. These people are trained. You can buy software off the shelf, but that costs you money. You have to learn how to use it. This is about as frictionless of tax filing one can get, unless one is a tax professional."
Most families earning less than $50,000 a year, military families and taxpayers 60 years of age and older, will be eligible to have their tax returns prepared at no cost to themselves.
There will be five locations that will provide VITA services through Monday, April 15:
- Del Mar College, Venters Business Building - 2-6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday (beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 29)
- Goodwill, Flour Bluff location - 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday (beginning on Thursday, Jan. 24)
- Boys & Girls Club on Greenwood - 3-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (beginning on Thursday, Jan. 24)
- Goodwill, S. Port Avenue location - 2-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m.-noon Saturday (beginning on Thursday, Jan. 24)
- Coastal Community & Teachers Credit Union, 1909 Trojan - 3-7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday (beginning on Monday, Jan. 28)
Those who would like assistance preparing their tax returns should make sure to have the following items with them:
- Government issued identification
- Social Security cards or ITIN numbers for taxpayer, spouses and dependents
- Birth dates for primary, secondary and dependents on the tax return
- If married and filing jointly, both spouses must be present
- Wage and earning statements Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- Proof of daycare expenses paid in 2012 including provider's name, address and federal ID number
- A copy of last year's Federal and State returns (if available)
- Bank routing numbers and account numbers if you want your refund direct deposited
- Other relevant information about income and expenses
The VITA program prepared 2,543 tax returns in 2012, and 1,876 the year before, bringing in more than $2.6 million in refunds for the community. For more information, visit www.uwcb.org.