Olivet College student volunteers to offer virtual VITA program this tax season
For the first time, Olivet College student volunteers will use a virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to assist local families with preparing and submitting their taxes for free at local libraries for the upcoming tax season.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is offered to any individual or household with a 2013 annual income of $53,000 or less. After hosting a successful VITA program in 2013, the Asset Independence Coalition (AIC) is again partnering with Olivet College to continue working with VITA, this time with a virtual program. Last year, program wide AIC volunteer prepared almost 3,000 returns and refunded nearly $3.3 million.
This year, tax payers will use a safe and secure online webcam software to complete their tax returns, rather than being required to sit face to face with tax preparers. Trained and IRS Certified volunteers from Olivet’s Accounting Student Organization (ASO) will assist participants with the computer program and scanning of tax documents at the VITA centers. The documents are then sent to IRS Certified tax preparers at Olivet College who will complete the tax returns.
“The virtual program allows us to help as many households as possible in a large area without asking the tax payers to drive more than a few miles to their local library,” said senior Anthony Edwards, ASO president and program manager for the Olivet virtual VITA. “We understand that some individuals may not want to file their taxes based on the cost of the preparation, so we are completely eliminating the factor of cost.”
Olivet’s ASO will begin holding the virtual program in late February at the Sunfield, Elsie and Dansville libraries. Dates and times are as follows:
* Sunfield District Library, 112 Main Street Sunfield, Mich.
February 26, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and March 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
* Dansville Library, 1379 E. Mason Street, Dansville, Mich.
March 26, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and March 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
* Elsie Public Library, 145 W. Main Street, Elsie, Mich.
March 19, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and March 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Olivet College strives to give back to not only our community, but every community that we can possibly help,” said Edwards. “We believe that AIC’s partnership with Olivet for the VITA program is a prime example of what Olivet College stands for.”
To set up a VITA appointment, residents are asked to call 2-1-1 or 1-866-561-2500 and specify which library they would like an appointment at.
The Asset Independence Coalition is a local asset building coalition dedicated to helping families in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties achieve greater financial security. AIC is co-chaired by Ingham County Treasurer, Eric Schertzing, and City of Lansing Treasurer, Antonia Kraus.
More information on VITA, including additional sites, dates and volunteer opportunities, is available on the AIC website: http://aicmidmichigan.org/. VITA services will be available from February 2 through April 15 throughout the state of Michigan.