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Student volunteers provide free tax services through April

Programs offer multiple sites, options for low-income taxpayers
Monday, February 4, 2013

StudentTaxAssistanceStudents from the School of Accountancy at Missouri State University will assist individuals with free tax preparation, e-filing and questions about other tax issues as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC) programs through April 14. These programs will be held at scheduled times in Glass Hall at MSU and other various locations in Springfield.

“Last year, working with other Across the Life Span (ATLS) program volunteers, over 16,000 tax returns were e-filed for clients in southwest Missouri who received over $6 million in tax refunds.” said Dr. Sandra Byrd, professor in the School of Accountancy (SOA) and coordinator of the Public Service Tax Clinic. “It’s a very large tax assistance program.”

VITA services are available by appointment or walk-in assistance. It is open to taxpayers with household incomes under $51,000 per year, older adults and taxpayers who speak English as a second language.

“This year MSU students will act as coaches for individuals that wish to do their own taxes through a link on the SOA website to MYFREETAXES instead of coming to a walk-in or by appointment clinic,” said Byrd. “This link will enable individuals to e-file their own return and receive their refund much quicker than paper filing or waiting for an appointment to have their taxes completed.”

LITC services are available by appointment only. LITC offers assistance for special tax issues and controversies, including issues with prior tax returns, liens or levies, compromises, currently not collectible status and understanding letters from the IRS. Eligibility for LITC assistance requires that a taxpayer’s income is no more than 250 percent of the poverty level.

Scheduled times and locations for VITA walk-in assistance are available on the Public Service Tax Clinics website, by dialing 2-1-1 or calling (800) 427-4626. To schedule an appointment at a specific location, call (417) 864-0030. To schedule an appointment for LITC assistance, call (417) 836-3007. Year-round assistance is also available for other tax issues.

The VITA and LITC programs are made possible through assistance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, BKD and in collaboration with many community partners.

Byrd received a grant of $32,594 from United Way of the Ozarks for VITA ATLS to provide stipends for the graduate assistants who will work as site coordinators for the project.

For more information, contact Byrd at (417) 836-4181. View EITC after the “Fiscal Cliff” for details about the earned income tax credit.

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About Missouri State University

Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while guided by three overarching and enduring commitments to student learning, inclusive excellence and institutional impact. The university’s identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.
 
College of Business
The College of Business is one of the largest business programs in the Midwest. The college includes four departments: computer information systems, finance and general business, management, marketing and the School of Accountancy in the business unit, as well as two separately-accredited departments: fashion and interior design, and technology and construction management. The COB, along with the School of Accountancy, hold the prestigious full accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

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