Low income area families can receive free tax services from Lewis and Clark Community College’s Godfrey campus via the Alton Area Tax Project from Feb. 1 through April 15.
“The Alton Area Tax Project is an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service that is available to all low and moderate income taxpayers,” said L&C volunteer tax assistant Tom Drake.
To be eligible for this program the total household income must be $54,000 or less.
Drake said, “The IRS uses an income guideline that is associated with the highest income that could qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit.”
He continued, “For tax year 2016 the income guideline is $54,000. We do accept clients with higher income, but would refuse service to anyone whose income greatly exceeds the guideline and does not have circumstances that would justify use of this free service.”
Assistants for this program will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. til 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. til 1 p.m.
From Feb. 1 to April 15 help can be found in the Templin Nursing Building, Room NUL 203, at L&C. As part of their service, each client will leave with an e-file of their tax papers and printed copies of their tax paper. However, they do not provide bookkeeping services.
This service is available to individuals only. To participate, taxpayers should bring a photo ID, social security cards for everyone on the tax return, all tax documents (including property tax bill if applicable), and a copy of last year’s return.
Drake said, “We are not limited as to the filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, widower) or the income reporting documents (W-2, 1099-R, 1099 Misc, 1099-INT, etc). We are the same as any paid preparer service, but our service is free to qualified taxpayers.”
Students and the public should take advantage of this opportunity provided by these volunteers.
“Since it is free, people get their full refund (and most of them really could use the money) and are not paying someone the extra to do their taxes. All of us are there for the taxpayers and not to make money. And it’s really important to me that the process is very thorough and very few mistakes are made. And, we are generally a pretty nice group of people to work with,” said L&C Associate Dean Val Harris.
The last day to file tax returns this year is April 18. For more information, contact the Alton Area Tax Project at (618) 433-1866 or firstname.lastname@example.org.