By John F. Barton
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
If you’re low-income, get it free at the University of the Incarnate Word, the oldest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in the city, on Saturdays before April 18.
VITA started at UIW in 1984 under Jim Donahue, a then-accounting professor.
This year, volunteers are rendering help 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays in Room 126 of the Joyce Building.
Before opening last Saturday, the preparers trained three weeks in advance. Volunteers include undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and alumni.
Some of the volunteers are even certified public accountants and many speak Spanish, said Dr. Patricia Burr, a professor of international business with the HEB School of Business and Administration.
“Dr. (Bonnie) McCormick, who is a biology professor, is a volunteer this year,” Burr said.
To receive help on a first-come, first-serve basis, individuals or families must be making less than $55,000 a year. Married people must not be filing separately and their spouse must be present to sign a return for electronic filing. People using the service must also bring all identification and Social Security cards. They must also have all necessary tax documents to help prepare their returns such as W-2s and 1099s.
Once the client meets these requirements it does not matter how complex the filing is. People filing individual returns, small business filings, have stocks, or even itemized deductions can use the service.
Some volunteers work with residents of The Village at Incarnate Word in helping them file returns.
Some university employees also use the service, said Dr. Michael Forrest, a professor of business law with the HEB School.
“We will also e-mail employees to let them know when to come in,” Forrest said. “Students can also file with us although their parents usually claim them as dependents if [they] work or need to file a return they can.”