RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande’s Emerson E. Evans School of Business is offering Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) through the accounting program. The VITA program offers free tax preparation help to low-income taxpayers. Students have volunteered to assist the community by becoming IRS-certified to offer tax counseling. Accounting instructor Allen Beatty said this is a unique opportunity for the students to apply what they learn in the classroom while helping the community with tax preparation.
“This is a community service we are offering for those who may not have the means to go to a large accounting firm for tax preparation. They can come to campus to complete their taxes at no cost,” Beatty said. “Our students are very excited to work with the community through this hands-on learning application of accounting and customer service skills. They have taken all the required training from the IRS and are ready to provide tax preparation assistance.”
To qualify for VITA, the taxpayer must have an income of $54,000 or less. The site will only be handling basic tax returns. Beatty said he is excited the university has provided this opportunity for his students to help residents with both federal and Ohio income taxes.
“We are here to fulfill a need in both the local and Rio communities. Students who meet VITA’s criteria will have a location on campus to get their federal and Ohio taxes done for free. We may not be able to help with state taxes from states we aren’t as familiar with because each one is different, but they have the chance to get the federal taxes taken care of here on campus which can save them some time and money,” Beatty said. “I encourage anyone who qualifies to take advantage of the opportunity.”
The VITA service will run in Bob Evans Farms Hall every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday through Tuesday, April 18, due to April 15 falling on a Saturday this year. Hours for VITA will be 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. The site will be closed March 6 through 10.