People who cannot afford professional income tax preparation can get free assistance at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
On Thursdays Feb. 6 through April 10, student volunteers certified by the IRS and working under the supervision of a CVTC Accounting instructor will provide free income tax preparation in room 240 of the Business Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire. The service is provided on a first-come-first-served basis, with sign-up beginning at noon and tax preparation from 1-4:30 p.m. each day. The service will not be available March 13 during spring break.
Please bring the following items to have your return prepared:
- Photo ID
- Social Security cards for taxpayer and all dependents
- Earnings statements (W-2, W-2G or 1099-R) including interest and dividend statements
- Copy of last year's tax returns
- Child care provider information and amount paid
- Birthdates, including spouse and dependents
- Rent certificates from landlord or property tax statement
- Financial institution's routing and account numbers for direct deposit
Returns cannot be prepared for those with rental, self-employment or out-of-state income, or any complicated returns.
“All of the students have to go through IRS training and certification process, and everything is also reviewed by myself or others with tax preparation experience,” said Jason Szymanski, CVTC Accounting instructor and program supervisor.
Szymanski added that an income of $52,000 or less is what the IRS likes to see for people using the VITA service.
“This helps the community, because the tax code is complicated,” Szymanski said. “And it’s great experience for the students to work with a real client. It takes the concepts they learned in the classroom and applies them to real life.”
Last year, CVTC served approximately 400 taxpayers through the VITA service.