GCC Third Year of Offering Free Income Tax Preparation Services to Community

For the third consecutive year, volunteers at Genesee Community College are once again providing free income tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the 2011 tax season.

Batavia, New York — For the third consecutive year, volunteers at Genesee Community College are once again providing free income tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the 2011 tax season. Working collaborative with Genesee County Department of Social Services (GCDSS), interested participants have access to walk-in sessions at GCC’s Batavia Campus or appointment-based services at DSS.

The three walk-in sessions at the GCC Batavia campus are on Tuesday, February 7; Tuesday, March 6; and Thursday, March 22, each from 4:00–7:00 PM in room T204. The appointment-based services available at the Genesee County DSS at 5130 East Main Street, Batavia are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-8:00 PM beginning February 9 by calling 344-2580 ext. 6552.

Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to community members with low to moderate-income. 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.

“Genesee Community College is once again pleased to be one of the community groups to provide tax services to our local residents. Our certified volunteers consist of faculty, staff and current students,” Cheryl Corke, GCC associate professor of accounting and business and VITA program director said. “Last year we prepared 114 Federal and NYS income tax returns. 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.”

The services are available to anyone whose household income is below $50,000 and does not require the filing of Schedule C or D. Business tax returns or complicated capital gains transactions cannot be completed through the VITA program. Each client leaves with a copy of his or her return that has been prepared. GCC is pleased to be working with Mark Castiglione from the Department of Social Services, who is the site coordinator.

Corke further advises participants to bring all their necessary documents including W-2 (wage and earning statement(s) from employer(s), W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc (interest and dividend statements from banks) forms; 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. 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 who have been involved in this program. It really is a fantastic opportunity for community members and our students,” she said. “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 cacorke@genesee.edu.

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