Westminster Students Offer Free Tax Help

4 years 4 months 4 weeks ago February 26, 2013 Feb 26, 2013 Tuesday, February 26 2013 Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:53:00 PM CST in Coverage From Callaway
By: Madison Alewel
loading

FULTON - Westminster College accounting students are lending a hand to Callaway County residents struggling with filing income tax returns. The students are certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as tax return preparers and will offer their services every Monday free of charge until April 15, the deadline to file tax returns.

This is the second year in a row students are offering the free tax preparation service. According to assistant professor of accounting Elise Bartley, the free service is needed now more than ever. "The Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA) in Callaway County offered some preparation services," said Bartley. "They had budget cuts a couple years ago, and actually the year that we started they were going to have to stop preparing taxes. So it had been a service that had been offered in the past, but there was only one person to do it for the whole county. They weren't able to offer the scope of services that we can now having more abled bodies on the ground."

Bartley began the IRS sponsored volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) program as a way to incorporate service learning into her accounting class. "The corporate income tax class just seemed like a natural fit for community service. It offers students the opportunity to prepare taxes as practice and also offers a really valuable service to the community."

Bartley said it normally costs anywhere between $100 to $200 to have income tax returns prepared by professional accountants. "So it's a significant savings for them to come have us prepare their taxes for free. I hope that it's something we can continue to offer at Westminster, and that the people in Callaway County can come to depend on the services that are offered here."

To qualify for the free service, residents must have earned less than $51,000 per household last year. This income limitation applies to taxpayers filing as an individual or jointly. "Because the service is free, the idea is that we're going to try to help the people that need the help the most--the people that probably can't afford to go out and spend the money to have a tax preparer do the return," said Bartley.

Qualifying residents should bring the following documents to have their income tax return filed:

  • Photo identification
  • Social Security cards for themselves, their spouses and dependents
  • All W-2 forms
  • Any 1099 forms received
  • Student loan interest payment information
  • Form 1098 for tuition paid
  • Child care expense declarations
  • A personal check or routing and account number for direct deposit
  • If available, their 2011 tax return

This year, Bartley's team of accounting students doubled from four to eight. Since the students began volunteering on February 4, they have served about 40 people. In their first year participating in the VITA program, the students only served about 50. "My students get fantastic experience through this program," said Bartley. "It gives them job experience even though it's volunteering. It's more like the experience they would get working in a full-time job. They can apply all the things they've learned in class to a real world situation, which is the best kind of learning that can happen."

Accounting student Jeremy Siebert said the experience is paying off. "I've done it so many times now that it's getting pretty easy for me," said Siebert. "But I guess for a person who hasn't done one yet, it's probably a challenge."

Bartley said it's very important to file an income tax return. "Especially if you're on the lower earning income scale, you can get a lot of the taxes that you paid back," said Bartley. "If you don't file a return, then you can't get a refund."

The accounting students provide the tax return service every Monday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 121 of the Coulter Science Center on the Westminster College campus. The tax return service will not be available March 11 or April 1 when Westminster is closed for campus holidays. For more information on the service, call Elise Bartley at 573-592-5215 or e-mail her at elise.bartley@westminster-mo.edu.

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man Tuesday evening on suspicion of stalking, after the victim reported finding him in her... More >>
2 hours ago July 26, 2017 Jul 26, 2017 Wednesday, July 26 2017 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 9:27:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Motorcycle riders are leaving Wednesday morning after meeting Columbia families to help honor their fallen heroes. Tribute... More >>
4 hours ago July 26, 2017 Jul 26, 2017 Wednesday, July 26 2017 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 7:41:00 AM CDT in News
OWENSVILLE (AP) — Two bodies found in March in a small Missouri pond have been identified as those of a... More >>
4 hours ago July 26, 2017 Jul 26, 2017 Wednesday, July 26 2017 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 7:28:27 AM CDT in News
FERGUSON (AP) — The president of the National Urban League says he's seen "steps in the right direction" in Ferguson,... More >>
6 hours ago July 26, 2017 Jul 26, 2017 Wednesday, July 26 2017 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 5:42:58 AM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - The South Callaway County School district transportation department installed new cameras on its buses to help crack... More >>
16 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 7:22:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Conservation is encouraging eclipse viewers to visit the state’s conservation areas Aug. 21 to... More >>
17 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 6:45:00 PM CDT in Eclipse Events
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Relatives of the man who died during a shootout with police al ong a Missouri interstate... More >>
18 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 5:23:14 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation to impose new regulations on abortion and give the attorney general... More >>
19 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:32:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Some residents have received an email from a phony city traffic collections department, the City of Columbia Parking... More >>
19 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:29:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After a tragic accident that took the lives of two Jefferson City residents this past weekend people... More >>
19 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:06:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - COMO Connect will propose budget cuts to the city council headlined by the possible cancellation to three different... More >>
19 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:04:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri referred a case of possible misappropriation of funds by a former staff member from... More >>
20 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 3:37:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Summer road trips are going to be cheaper for Missouri drivers this year. According to AAA, the... More >>
20 hours ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 3:15:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri woman has reached a settlement in a lawsuit she filed against a former neighbor... More >>
1 day ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:13:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have identified the victims of a triple shooting at a St. Joseph apartment complex... More >>
1 day ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:32:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- The Mizzou International Composers Festival began its series of concerts Monday night with a free show at Whitmore Recital... More >>
1 day ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM CDT in News
FLORISSANT, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a custodian for a St. Louis suburb took photos under the skirts of female... More >>
1 day ago July 25, 2017 Jul 25, 2017 Tuesday, July 25 2017 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 6:57:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - On Monday, Mayor Carrie Tergin presented her approved budget to the city council. Tergin calls the... More >>
1 day ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 9:08:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 87°
12pm 90°
1pm 90°
2pm 92°
3pm 93°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
11:00a
Jerry Springer
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Little Big Shots: Forever Young
8:00p
The Carmichael Show
8:30p
The Carmichael Show
9:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld