Westminster Students Offer Free Tax Help

3 years 7 months 3 days 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

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
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Federal prosecutors said a man serving a life sentence for his role in a 1988 explosion... More >>
2 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 5:50:41 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Current and future health care professionals gathered in Columbia to talk about ethics and digital media on Friday.... More >>
3 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 5:15:00 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY –The Callaway County Jail has an aging security system as old as the jail itself, which was built... More >>
4 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 4:21:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Members of the University of Missouri Police Department and the Legion of Black Collegians met together Thursday night... More >>
4 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 4:14:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- The 10th annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival kicked off Friday and festival coordinators have been working to... More >>
4 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 3:43:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - MU's Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students unveiled a historical marker Friday at the location of Columbia's... More >>
5 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 2:54:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Farmers, and farmers at heart, can be happy that a new farmers market is in the works for... More >>
6 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 2:17:00 PM CDT in News
BENTON (AP) — Authorities are searching for an inmate who escaped from a southeast Missouri jail. The Southeast Missourian... More >>
7 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 12:43:43 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As a broadcast station, visual representation of stories is an important part of coverage at KOMU 8 News.... More >>
8 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 11:54:00 AM CDT in News
FARBER - Authorities shot a man armed with a shotgun in Farber late Thursday night, the Missouri State Highway Patrol... More >>
10 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 9:56:00 AM CDT in News
MEXICO - Four men were arrested after officers say they found drugs and guns Thursday afternoon. According to a... More >>
13 hours ago September 30, 2016 Sep 30, 2016 Friday, September 30 2016 Friday, September 30, 2016 7:17:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Family members restrained the father of a missing Missouri woman when the man accused of setting... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 8:07:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - In honor of the Columbia Public School Foundation's (CPSF) 20th anniversary, it announced a $20,000 grant for Columbia... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 7:49:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival returns for its 10th year Friday to Columbia’s Stephens Lake... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 7:09:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - An independent organization revealed its findings Thursday on the abilities of 49 judges throughout the state of... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 7:02:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force discussed its future and long term goals at its second to last... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 6:44:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - MUPD released a full detailed report on a Tuesday night incident in which two black students reported being... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 6:16:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – The annual Roots N Blues BBQ Festival will cause some traffic changes this weekend. The Columbia Police... More >>
1 day ago September 29, 2016 Sep 29, 2016 Thursday, September 29 2016 Thursday, September 29, 2016 5:05:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
9pm 62°
10pm 62°
11pm 60°
12am 58°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

8:00p
Dateline NBC
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:35p
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
This Is Us
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Masters of Illusion
7:30p
Masters of Illusion
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld