Volunteers available for tax help

Lyndsey Sager

Volunteers are available to those looking for tax help this year.

Kent State’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA, is available to all taxpayers making less than $50,000 a year, including Kent State students and faculty.

Paula DiVencenzo, business and finance tax manager, said all volunteers are trained in tax law. They also had to pass an IRS-issued test to prepare returns.

DiVencenzo said international students use the service more than any other group, but encouraged traditional students and community members to file their taxes through VITA because the program is free and volunteers are trained to prepare returns.

“There will be greater accuracy,” DiVencenzo said. “They will help you take credits when they’re available that you might not know about.”

DiVencenzo said volunteers include members of Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting Association, the university’s payroll department and the Office of Global Education, as well as interns from College of Business master’s programs.

Tianjun Shen, a VITA volunteer, said he got involved while interning for Kent State’s International Student and Scholar Services.

“I offered to help and found it quite rewarding to be able to help international students, scholars and their family members,” Shen said. “Also, as an international student myself, I was confused about how to file my taxes, and I just wanted to offer my helping hand.”

The service will be available three Saturdays for walk-ins and by appointment at any time during the week. Scheduled Saturdays include March 10 and April 7 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., and March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.

DiVencenzo said that though Saturday walk-ins are welcome, appointments are encouraged to reduce wait times.

To qualify for free tax preparations, individuals and joint filers must be eligible for simple tax return (1040 for residents, 1040NR for non-residents), which can include deductions for childcare, dependent care and education, among other common credits.

VITA is also prepared to handle taxpayers with small interest incomes and scholarships.

Taxpayers must present proof of identification, wage and earnings statements and other forms and information, depending on individual situations.

A full list of requirements is available online at www.kent.edu/tax/kent-state-vita.cfm.

The VITA tax preparation site is located in rooms A224 and A226 of the Business Administration building, located at 475 Terrace Drive.

DiVencenzo said to schedule an appointment or learn more about the program, taxpayers can email [email protected] or call 330-672-8622.

Conact Lyndsey Sager at [email protected].