For the third consecutive year, volunteers at Genesee Community College are providing free income tax preparation services. This opportunity is made possible through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in collaboration with Genesee County Department of Social Services (GCDSS).
The services for 2011 taxes are available to anyone whose household income is below $50,000 and does not require the filing of Schedule C or D. Each client leaves with a copy of his or her return that has been prepared.
Business tax returns or complicated capital gains transactions cannot be completed through the VITA program.
Interested participants have access to walk-in sessions at GCC's Batavia campus or appointment-based services at GCDSS, located at 5130 E. Main St. in Batavia.
The three walk-in sessions at the college are held from 4 to 7 p.m. in room T204 on Tuesday, Feb. 7; Tuesday, March 6; and Thursday, March 22.
The appointment-based services available at the Department of Social Services are from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning today, Feb. 9. Call 344-2580, ext. 6552, to make an appointment. Mark Castiglione is the site coordinator.
Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteers prepare free, basic income tax returns for community members with low to moderate income. The volunteers have undergone rigorous online training and provide assistance in communities nationwide. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations.
"Last year we prepared 114 federal and NYS income tax returns," said local VITA Program Director Cheryl Corke, who is an associate professor of Accounting and Business at GCC.
"Through this effort, our clients received $115,304 in federal income tax refunds, including $23,795 in earned income tax credits, $5,682 in child tax credits and $9,170 in education tax credits."
Corke advises participants to bring all their necessary documents including:
W-2 (wage and earning statement(s) from employer(s)
1099-Misc (interest and dividend statements from banks) forms
Social Security cards for all persons listed on the tax return
A copy of last year's federal and state returns, if available
For direct bank deposits, bank account routing numbers and account numbers are needed
Other information needed may include total annual payment for daycare providers, plus the daycare provider's tax identifying numbers and address.
For married couples filing joint tax returns, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
"I want to personally thank all of those who have been involved in this program," Corke said. "It really is a fantastic opportunity for community members and our students. We have several certified preparers from GCC, including faculty and students, and three people certified from DSS, and many others have put time and effort into this endeavor.
"On behalf of the many users and participants of this program, I send a special 'thank you' to my colleague, Amy Conley, and to her students who worked very hard to become certified intermediate income tax preparers."
For more information, contact Cheryl Corke, VITA program director at GCC, at [email protected].