Westminster Students Offer Free Tax Help

2 years 11 months 2 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

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 [email protected]

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City woman who worked as a teacher and lived on a pension left $2... More >>
3 hours ago February 13, 2016 Feb 13, 2016 Saturday, February 13 2016 Saturday, February 13, 2016 11:33:39 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — University of Missouri officials say they're looking into whether a graduate student employee union would be legal.... More >>
4 hours ago February 13, 2016 Feb 13, 2016 Saturday, February 13 2016 Saturday, February 13, 2016 11:04:08 AM CST in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - Mid County Fire Protection District responded to a residential fire southeast of Camdenton late Friday afternoon. ... More >>
19 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 8:06:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District, or CID, has applications open for residents, business owners or registered... More >>
20 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 7:09:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, announced additional disaster assistance for renters in Missouri affected by... More >>
21 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 6:06:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A man is recovering Friday after he jumped into a frozen lake to save the life of his... More >>
22 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 4:33:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City has created a plan in the city budget to tear down about 800 vacant... More >>
22 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 4:32:00 PM CST in News
FERGUSON (AP) — Ferguson's mayor says city leaders warned U.S. Department of Justice negotiators last month that they couldn't guarantee... More >>
23 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 4:19:22 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia Public Schools will recommend three individuals to fill critical vacancies within the school district to the Board... More >>
23 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 3:59:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Funding would increase by $76 million for public schools if the budget proposed by the House Appropriations... More >>
23 hours ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 3:35:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Better Business Bureau recently announced it received 2,500 complaints regarding online dating services during 2015. Regional... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 3:20:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Sedalia man sentenced to seven years without parole for distributing methamphetamine. United States Attorney for the... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 2:32:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - An animal control officer in Boone County said she does not see animal torture or mutilation cases that... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 2:31:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Capital Region Medical Center and the Jefferson City Medical Group have teamed up for a new pain... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 12:22:38 PM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield man has been charged with assaulting a woman on the Missouri State University campus and... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM CST in News
GRANBY (AP) — Environmental officials say mine waste removal efforts are gearing up in southwest Missouri. Liz Hagenmaier, of... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 11:53:00 AM CST in News
MORGAN COUNTY — A fatal crash on U.S. Highway 50 Thursday morning left a high school student dead with another... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 11:01:56 AM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A judge has denied a public vote on a proposed convention hotel in downtown Kansas City.... More >>
1 day ago February 12, 2016 Feb 12, 2016 Friday, February 12 2016 Friday, February 12, 2016 10:24:00 AM CST in News
Interactive Radar Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 19°
4pm 19°
5pm 19°
6pm 21°
7pm 20°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00 pm
USSA Skiing and Snowboarding
4:00 pm
USSA Skiing and Snowboarding
5:00 pm
CIZE IT UP!
3:00 pm
Dog Jack
5:00 pm
Crazy Talk
5:30 pm
Crazy Talk

Tonight's Schedule

7:00 pm
Dateline NBC
9:00 pm
Saturday Night Live
7:00 pm
Family Guy
7:30 pm
Family Guy
8:00 pm
Bob's Burgers
8:30 pm
Bob's Burgers
9:00 pm
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30 pm
Seinfeld