Students, community can get free income tax help

February 7, 2014 Latest Print Print
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Students can get their taxes done for free on campus through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance said IRS Contact Service Representative Mr. Nunez. (Nunez said employees at the call center aren’t allowed to give out their first names.)

He said OCCC will host the free tax service for low-income filers from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Tuesday, April 15.

The volunteers will be set up outside of the Student Life office, located on the first floor of the Main Building.

In order to get tax help from the VITA program, Nunez said, students must meet certain qualifications.

“If you visit our website at www.irs.gov, it gives you the basic criteria of what the VITA signs are, what the requirements are for assistance,” he said. “It states that if you made less than $52,000 in combined income, they are willing to assist you.”

Nunez said the volunteers can assist with basic income tax preparation and inform students about special tax breaks.

VITA sites usually only work on basic tax returns so students with more complicated forms may need to seek help elsewhere, he said.

“Anything that is too complicated — like if you start talking about specialty forms, or dividends, things that will take more than an hour on a tax return — they do have the right to refuse service.”

Nunez said all VITA volunteers go through a tax program or course.

“It’s not just your typical Joe coming from out of the street, sitting down at a computer, doing something for you.”

He said students wanting to take advantage of the free service must bring a photo ID, social security numbers for everyone listed on the tax return, an individual taxpayer identification number, proof of foreign status (if needed) and birthdates for everyone listed on the return.

Several forms and statements also are required including: wage and earning statements from all employers (W2, W2G, 1099R, 1099Misc), interest and dividend statements from banks (forms 1099), the state return from last year, federal return from last year, and a bank account routing number and checking account number for direct deposit.

Students who have children who attend daycare also will need to bring the total paid for daycare and their daycare provider’s tax identity number.

If students are married and plan to file a joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the forms.

The process can seem overwhelming, Nunez said, but students can typically be done in less than a half an hour.

This does not include the waiting time in line, which students can try to prevent by arriving early.

“It just depends on how complicated the tax return is,” Nunez said. “If you have a simple W2 and it’s a 1040EZ form, they can be in and out in 15 to 20 minutes depending on how efficient the volunteer is.”

For more information, contact the Student Life office at 405-682-7523.

To contact Lauren Daniel, email editor@occc.edu.

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