UM offering free tax return filing

UM will be offering free tax return filing by the VITA program and certified UM students in Morgan Hall, Room 202 on the UM campus. (File)

UM will be offering free tax return filing by the VITA program and certified UM students in Morgan Hall, Room 202 on the UM campus. (File)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO–Do you dread the thought of filing a tax return in the coming weeks? The University of Montevallo certified students and faculty are ready to help by providing a free tax return filing by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

This is the fourth year UM has offered the program, and each year the program has gained more people who have taken advantage of the free program.

When the program was introduced in 2012, the UM VITA Program served a total of 30 clients. In 2014, the program served 71 clients and the goal for 2015 is to serve 100 or more clients.

Bill Hamer, director of center of professional practice, has helped facilitate the program and said he believes it gives students the chance to gain valuable experience while at the same time helping people file their taxes.

“This year, we have expanded our program, one of our top accounting professors, Dr. Doug Smith, teaches tax and has done the recruiting and we have eight students who are going to participate working with us this year,” said Hamer. “We have a team captain, Stacy Burke, who is a paid intern and therefore we have a lot more resources.”

A couple of changes have been made for this year’s program. In the first three years, the tax filing was done in the Montevallo City Library, and this year the filing will be done on the UM campus in Morgan Hall, Room 202. Also, there was a cap of $53,000 in years past, which now has been removed.

Starting Saturday, Feb. 7, and continuing each Saturday until April 11, the students will be able to help file tax returns from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. An additional date on Wednesday, April 8, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. will be available for anyone needing last-minute help.

The documents needed to receive assistance are a photo ID, Social Security number for each family member and working adult, W-2s and other income forms, childcare provider name, address, tax ID and bank routing and account numbers for checking and savings account.