Mid-Missouri Tax Payers Get Free Tax Preparation Help

7 years 8 months 1 week ago Tuesday, February 15 2011 Feb 15, 2011 Tuesday, February 15, 2011 10:51:47 AM CST February 15, 2011 in Continuous News
By: Dan Greenwald

COLUMBIA - Tax return is exciting, especially when you can get it donefreely. MU College of Human Environmental Sciences is running three VolunteerIncome Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in Columbia to provide free tax preparationhelp for mid-Missouri taxpayers.

"We do e-file. We do direct deposits. We do a lot of thingsthat people are increasing looking for in tax preparation. We also offer prettyconvenient time, in the evenings and on the weekends. Generally we try what helpas much as we can to explain things and take the time of clients to get qualityreturn." Andrew Zumwalt, the associate state specialist for financial planningand the program coordinator, says.

The VITA program is in its 6th year. The servicestarted on January 25th, about 1 week earlier than most other sitesround the state. Zumwalt says they start earlier this year in order to serve asmore people as possible. Last year, about 1100 people came to the VITA sitesfor tax preparation help.

People can get help on Monday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. inCentral Missouri Community Action, and in Cornell Hall on MU campus from 4:30to 8 p.m. And from 4:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m.to 1:30 p.m., Room 61 in Stanley Hall on MU campus offers the same service.

Hung Chiao, the PHD student in MU, works as a graduateassistant in MU Wellness Resource Center. This is the 4th time forChiao to go to the VITA site to prepare her tax.

Chiao says the unsuccessful experience in the past bringsher to the local site.

"Actually one year I did try to do myself, and I was latealready, and I end up paying a lot of money which I may not have to, but... Yeah,it is a horrible experience."

Apparently Chiao thinks highly of the program.

"I found that this office can actually help me file tax andthey can be very helpful. And I got alot of money back. So I have been coming back every year."

"They have expertise in this area. So I trust them. I trusttheir expertise and I trust they will help me to get most money back. They havehelped me to get as much as I can. Just sort of that reliability and expertiseI rely on. If I file the tax return myself I may miss something that... I maymiss the benefit I should get."

Katie Stegeman, a junior student in the College of HumanEnvironmental Sciences and a volunteer in the VITA program, values thesignificant meaning of this program towards Columbia communities. "..." Stegemansaid.

"The volunteers learn how to speak to people about money,which is, you know, just amazing when you talk to the employers and financialcommunity." Zumwalt evaluates the benefit of this program towards the studentsserving as volunteers in it.

The program will run till the Tax Day, April 18th.

 

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