Tax sites offer free tax help statewide
COLUMBIA - People statewide can get free tax assistance at sites across Missouri. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program sites provide free tax preparation and are located in libraries, community centers and other public locations.
Assistant extension professor with the University of Missouri Extension Andrew Zumwalt said VITA sites serve the purpose of helping low-income individuals who make $54,000 or less to get their taxes done. He said the sites help community members, students, faculty, staff, and anyone who meets the criteria.
People can bring their tax paperwork to the sites and sit down with volunteers who are MU financial planning students.
"We evaluate the situation, we prepare the return, we review it to make sure everything's entered correctly, and we electronically file the return. If it shows direct deposit they get their refund fairly quickly," Zumwalt said.
Zumwalt said the sites are busy in February, calm down a bit in March, and then get busy again in April.
"It gets really busy again in April because people who have procrastinated or put it off, they're looking to get their taxes done," Zumwalt said.
He said tax fraud is becoming a bigger and bigger issue.
"Tax fraud is becoming a bigger and bigger issue and so we work with clients who maybe their return is rejected, somebody's already filed using their number and so we work with them to file an identity theft affadavit to show the IRS that no this person is the real taxpayer," Zumwalt said.
The VITA sites in Columbia are the Family Impact Center and Stanley Hall and the Law School Library at MU.
People can enter their ZIP code into the IRS website to find a free tax help site.