Volunteers at Genesee Community College will provide free income tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the 2010 tax season. The Genesee County Department of Social Services is coordinating with volunteers at the College to provide appointment-based services (at DSS) as well as two walk-in service days at the Batavia Campus in T205. Walk-In service days are scheduled for Saturday, February 6 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm and Thursday, February 18 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training 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. Most locations also offer free electronic filing.
Genesee Community College is the newest local community group to provide these tax services. Genesee’s volunteers consist of faculty, staff and current students. They have been certified and trained by the IRS to prepare the tax returns. The taxes are prepared by the certified volunteers with the IRS approved "Taxwise" program, an online program that the preparers use. Mark Castiglione from Genesee County DSS is the VITA site coordinator for Genesee County. Both Federal and State returns are filed. The client leaves with a copy of the returns that have been prepared.
Under the leadership of Cheryl Corke, assistant professor of Accounting at Genesee and a Certified Public Accountant, the student and faculty volunteers have undergone rigorous online training to be able to use the IRS computer software. Three faculty members have been certified to prepare the taxes, Cheryl Corke (accounting), Amy Conley (accounting) and Donna LaMura (chemistry). In addition to the certified faculty members, there are a number of accounting students and college staff who have been active and will assist in the program.
“We have a strong, dedicated group of volunteers who are excited to help our community members prepare their taxes,” Corke said. “We’ve been working hand-in-hand with DSS and the IRS to make the walk-in sessions go as smooth as possible.”
The VITA program is a free service for clients with basic returns (no schedule C’s, D’s and no businesses) and with a combined income of $49,000 or less. There will be a welcome table with a checklist of all the materials people need to have prior to preparation services (social security cards for all individuals including dependents, all W-2's and 1099's, etc. and proof of identity such as driver’s license)
For more information please contact Cheryl Corke at 585-343-0055 x6323 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.