UM offers free tax filing services

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Reporter

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo will offer free tax assistance every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until April 15.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program allows low-to-moderate income citizens to get their taxes filed for free by certified student volunteers.

According to IRS.gov, the “program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.”

According to Dr. Douglas Smith, who oversees the program at UM, the students volunteering are certified in basic and advanced tax services by the IRS. The VITA program is a national initiative by the IRS to provide free tax services to those who otherwise could not afford them. Students and community members must be certified before administering the services.

“We would let somebody from the community work with us if they wanted to,” Smith said. “You don’t have to be an accounting major. It could be any college student, it could be anyone [with certification] who wants to help do tax returns.”

Smith said when people come to the get their taxes done and have all the proper forms, they will be finished the same day.

“People who choose not to do a tax return might be missing out on money they would get back,” Smith said.

He encouraged people to file tax returns and use the services available to them.

“We sit down with them one on one and do tax returns … we do everything for them,” Smith said. “They would be ready to be e-filed. We usually wait a day or two just to make sure no questions come up [before we file them].”

During each appointment, clients will need to bring 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 accounts. Other helpful information includes any deduction details (medical, property tax), tuition expenses or student loan interests.

Smith also encouraged clients to bring prior tax returns if they have used the VITA service at UM before.

Those interested can make an appointment at 205-665-6531 or walk in to Morgan Hall room 202. UM encourages appointments.