Westminster Students Offer Free Tax Help

5 years 4 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, February 26 2013 Feb 26, 2013 Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:53:00 PM CST February 26, 2013 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
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The group fighting a ballot measure that would make Missouri a right-to-work state has outraised its... More >>
35 minutes ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:17:30 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say two planes carrying more than 250 passengers made emergency landings at Kansas City International... More >>
41 minutes ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:11:34 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police records related to the shooting death of Rovon Blocker suggest the incident appeared to be accidental. ... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:39:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Three Fulton men are in custody after being charged with stealing and drug offenses, in connection to... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:01:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
FULTON - A judge sentenced a man convicted of a dozen sex crimes, some involving children, to sixty years in... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 8:05:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is open to holding direct talks with the Taliban to encourage negotiations between the... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:30:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) - A 29-year-old gun-rights activist served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:14:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – City council approved two public hearings in August to discuss possible increases to the property tax and sewer... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 7:46:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Former Gov. Eric Greitens' campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees in his... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 7:03:27 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to rename the Columbia post office located on Walnut... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 6:51:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Family, friends and law enforcement continue to search Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area for Jerry Kinman. ... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's U.S. senators are standing by the intelligence community's conclusion that the Russians interfered in the... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 5:10:30 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A man who was fatally shot after wounding three Kansas City police officers during a gunfight... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 3:30:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - A group responsible for ballot petition advocating major reform in Jefferson City said they are almost positive... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 3:19:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A dialogue that began in October 2017 among the East Campus community could finally have an answer Monday.... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 2:10:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Bidders have spent nearly $80,000 for baseball memorabilia a former Kansas City Royals second baseman put... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 1:51:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
(CNN Money) -- Adidas is racing to make its products more sustainable. The global sportswear maker said Monday that... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 1:18:32 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A common drug used to control blood pressure and help prevent heart failure was announced by the US... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 1:05:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 83°
11am 85°
12pm 87°
1pm 88°
2pm 90°