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East Central College and the Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with Franklin County Habitat for Humanity and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Franklin County, will offer free tax preparation services to low- to moderate-income families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. 

 

Free tax preparation services will be available on ECC’s Union campus Fridays from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon.   Assistance will be available through April 13 with the exception of March 22, 23, 29 and 30.  Individuals wanting to take advantage of this service should go to the lobby of the ECC Theatre located in the Auditorium/Classroom Building before meeting with a volunteer in Room AC 157. 

 

The program, which is part of the ECC Business Department’s community outreach program, uses IRS-trained and certified volunteers to assist in the preparation of and e-filing of IRS and Missouri tax forms for those taxpayers with total household incomes of less than $51,000.  Tax forms completed include the Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim for qualified seniors and disabled people to receive a rebate of their Missouri real estate taxes paid in 2012.

 

Taxpayers who take part in the program will need to provide the following:

 

  • Valid driver’s license or photo identification (self and spouse, if applicable)

 

  • Social Security cards for all persons listed on the return

 

  • Dates of birth for all persons listed on the return

 

  • All income statements: Forms W-2, 1099s, Social Security, unemployment, or other benefits statements, self-employment records, interest income, and any documents showing taxes withheld

 

  • Dependent child care information: payee’s name, address, and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number

 

  • Proof of account at financial institution for direct debit or deposit (e.g., canceled/voided check or bank statement)

 

  • Last year’s tax return

 

  • 1098-T’s tuition statements (for those households with college students in 2012)

      

This is a walk-in, first-come, first-served tax service.  Only basic tax return services are offered.  No partnership, complex investment or other complex tax returns will be completed.  Returns will be e-Filed within 48 hours of their completion. 

 

“It is important that taxpayers turn to trained tax preparers such as VITA’s IRS-trained team,” said James Carter, a certified public accountant and accounting instructor at ECC.  “Refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Missouri Property Tax Credit, go unclaimed every year and we are looking to help those that qualify to get these credits.”

 

Long-time ECC accounting and business instructor Dan Hall is also involved in the project.  He noted that this is the time of year when Internet spams appear with respect to the tax credit.  “Beware of that spam,” Hall said. “The IRS does not email people to request any personal information.”

 

The IRS estimates that 20 to 25 percent of eligible taxpayers fail to claim the credit which could put as much as $4,824 into the pockets of a family with two children, or send as much as $2,917 to a family with one child, or up to $438 for a worker with no children. The Earned Income Tax Credit is the federal government’s largest program benefiting lower earning workers.

 

“The extra dollars eligible taxpayers can get through EITC can make their lives a little easier,” said Carter, “However, people must file tax returns in order to claim the credit, even if they aren’t required to file.”

 

Carter said some individuals and families may qualify for the credit for the first time because of unemployment or other changes in their financial, marital or parental status during the past year. 

 

He encourages people to come to the college on Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings with the documentation mentioned above to see if they qualify.   “Since this will be done first-come, first-served, people should expect to wait for services.  Carter or Hall will review all tax returns before they are filed as a quality review.

 

People with questions can contact Carter at 636-584-6639 or via email at JKCarter@EastCentral.edu.

 
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