January is flying by and April 15th will be here before you know it. If that sends you into a panic, take advantage of free tax preparation help from Genesee Community College. For the sixth year straight, GCC volunteers are offering free income tax preparation services to the community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Those interested may access walk-in sessions at GCC's Batavia Campus as noted below or appointment-based services at Genesee County Department of Social Services (GCDSS) on Tuesdays.
There are four walk-in sessions scheduled at the GCC Batavia campus, all in room T205:
• Thursday, Feb. 12th 4 -7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Feb. 24th 4 - 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, March 24th 4 – 7 p.m.
• Thursday, April 2nd 4 – 7 p.m.
The appointment-based services are available from Feb. 3rd – April 7th at the Genesee County DSS at 5130 E. Main St., Batavia. To make an appointment call Betty at 344-2580, ext. 6552.
Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to community members with household income up to $53,000. Business tax returns or complicated capital gains transactions cannot be completed through the VITA program. VITA offers free electronic filing of federal and state returns.
"Genesee Community College is once again pleased to offer this service to our local residents. Our certified volunteers consist of faculty, staff and current students," said Cheryl Corke, GCC associate professor of Accounting and Business and VITA program director.
Last year we prepared 162 Federal and NYS income tax returns. Through this effort, our clients received $226,087 in Federal Income Tax Refunds, including $51,899 in earned income tax credits, $15,479 in child tax credits and $10,107 in education tax credits."
Corke advises participants to bring all necessary documents including W-2 (wage and earning statement(s) from employer(s), W-2G, 1098,1099-R, 1099-Misc (interest and dividend statements from banks) forms and the new 1095A forms related to the ACA; Social Security cards for all persons listed on the tax return; and a copy of last year's Federal and State returns, if available.
In addition, bank account routing numbers and account numbers are also needed for direct deposit of refunds. Other information participants may need to provide includes total annual payment for daycare providers plus the daycare provider's tax identifying numbers and address.
Lastly, for married-filing joint tax returns both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
"I want to personally thank all of those involved in this program. It really is a fantastic opportunity for community members and our students," Corke said. "We have several certified preparers from GCC and DSS and many others have put time and effort into this endeavor."
The certified volunteers have undergone rigorous online training to be able to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations.
For more information, contact Cheryl Corke, VITA program director at GCC, at [email protected].