Students make tax season less taxing

UMSL students Yasser Almukhtar (left) and Alexandra Tran (standing) help P. Fletcher prepare her taxes last year during the annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Students will offer free tax preparation services to low-income taxpayers and senior citizens Feb. 10 through April 14 at various locations. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Tax season is in full swing, and for some people the cost of preparing the annual returns can be taxing. Students from the College of Business Administration at the University of Missouri–St. Louis want to ease the burden by offering free tax preparation services to low-income taxpayers and senior citizens Feb. 10 through April 14 at various locations.

The service is part of the award-winning Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA has been offered by UMSL for 40  years. Business students and faculty prepare tax returns at four locations throughout the St. Louis area.

Combined household incomes that did not exceed $50,000 in 2011 can qualify for the free service.

The times, dates and locations are:

• 11 a.m. to  5 p.m. Fridays, St. Louis Public Library, Barr Branch, 1701 S. Jefferson Ave. in St. Louis, 314-771-7040
• 1 to 6 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, Ferguson Municipal Public Library, 35 N. Florissant Road in Ferguson, Mo., 314-521-4820
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, with the exception of Feb. 11 and 25 when hours will be from 1 to 5 p.m., St. Charles City-County Library, Deer Run Branch, 1300 North Main St. in O’Fallon, Mo., 636-980-1332
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, St. Louis Public Library, Schlafly Branch, 225 N. Euclid Ave. in St. Louis, 314-367-4120

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at UMSL has received four Internal Revenue Service VITA awards over the last three years for number of returns prepared, outstanding community service and sustained superior performance.

Each year, students undergo several weeks of tax preparation training, testing and certification. They are informed of new and updated tax laws, as well as advancements to the software, Tax Wise, which is used for the VITA program.

More than 1,700 business students, alumni and faculty have offered free tax preparation services to low-income taxpayers and senior citizens at several locations throughout the St. Louis area since 1973. VITA is the largest university-based personal income tax service in the region.

VITA is sponsored by the Gamma Psi Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, UMSL’s Department of Accounting, GECC Tax Coalition and the IRS.

Call 314-516-7188 or visit umsl.edu/~vita/for more information on the VITA program.


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