Missouri Western State Universities Craig School of Business, Accounting club is working with Dr. Curtis Atchley to provide free income tax preparation and e-filing services to taxpayers with a household income under $60,000.
The service is an IRS-sponsored program known as VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), the program is intended to serve lower-income households.
Services were provided on February 19 but will be offered again on February 26, and March 5, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Popplewell 307. Assistant Professor of Accounting, Dr. Curtis Atchley, shared the benefits of the program and its importance to the community.
“Roughly, we are saving the taxpayer $400 by providing this service,” Atchley said. “That is why we want to benefit these lower-income households where they could use their refund for something more practical.”
When asked how income tax apps like TurboTax compare to VITA, Dr. Atchley explained that people often use these apps because they cannot afford to visit a CPA firm. Dr. Atchley explained that through income return apps, returns are likely to be done inaccurately, which often leads to a large loss in refunds. This can place a flag, on the return, resulting in a delay and even an audit.
“When they see that the VITA program has provided their tax return, there’s an assurance that it’s accurate and the refund is going to be processed quicker,” Atchley said.
Taylor Phillips, a student volunteer for the event, shared how beneficial the program is for students going into accounting.
“You learn different aspects from different people because everyone’s financial situation is unique. It gives us first-hand experience, without the pressure.” Philips said. “We have two accounting professors that will be checking everything we do, so we’re not worried about making mistakes. There will be three separate checkpoints.”
Dr. Atchley elaborated on his sincere appreciation for the involvement of all his student volunteers.
“The students did an amazing job. They spent four and a half hours training, they had to pass three certification tests, and had to do three separate tax returns in order to be certified,” Atchley said. “There was a lot of dedication on the student's part, which I appreciate so much. This couldn’t have been accomplished without them.”
Dr. Atchley anticipates a successful turnout, as well as a thorough yet swift 30-minute process for each taxpayer.
Documents that can be processed at the events include tax documents, W’s, 1099 interests, simple 1099 broker forms, retirement, social security and some 1099 miscellaneous, such as self-employment.
Requirements for anyone that wants to attend the event include: living and working in the state of Missouri, married couples must both have their photo ID and social security cards present, children do not have to be present, but each child's social security card must be and you must bring IRS form 6419 if received.