St. Bonaventure University accounting students are setting up for the 11th year of offering free tax services to qualifying taxpayers.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program operates out of the United Way office at 807 W. State St., Olean, next to NAPA Auto Parts and across the street from Raymour & Flanigan.
St. Bonaventure University’s VITA program officially opens its tax preparation site at the Olean United Way office on Monday, Jan. 27. The office will remain open until April 4. Operating days are Monday through Saturday, with morning, afternoon, and evening appointment times available.
The St. Bonaventure VITA site is an innovative, high-volume program that operates on an appointment basis, and has the capacity to prepare over 100 tax returns per week during “tax season” 2014.
The St. Bonaventure volunteers are trained not only to prepare high quality tax returns, but also to explain the tax return to the taxpayer and to answer the taxpayer’s questions. Interested persons are encouraged to call (716) 373-2534 to see if they qualify and to make an appointment.
To qualify for free tax return preparation and electronic filing, Cattaraugus County workers must have a family income of $50,000 or less. Candidates will go through an entrance interview to see whether they qualify for free assistance. Those who qualify must bring a valid picture I.D., Social Security cards, all W-2 forms, and Forms 1099 to their tax preparation appointment.
Since 2004, the University’s VITA program has brought federal and state income tax benefits to people with low and moderate incomes by providing free income tax preparation and e-filing. The program focuses on workers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit available to low- and moderate-income workers with earned income.
In the first ten years of operation, VITA tax preparer volunteers have contributed 17,000 service hours, and prepared 3,560 tax returns, to help Cattaraugus County residents earn more than $5.5 million in tax refunds.
Accounting majors, alumni, and faculty from St. Bonaventure University volunteer to make the program possible under the leadership of Dr. Susan Anders, professor of accounting and site coordinator for the VITA program. Volunteer tax preparers engage in many hours of training and must pass rigorous IRS certification tests. All volunteer tax preparers are certified at the advanced level or higher.
The St. Bonaventure VITA program operates in partnership with the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services and the United Way of Cattaraugus County, which provide resources for the activity.
St. Bonaventure accounting students, along with experienced alumni, faculty and friends of the University, screen clients, book appointments, and provide free tax return preparation and e-filing.
For more information, contact SBU’s VITA program at (716) 373-2534, or visit www.irs.gov.
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