GCC Again Offering Free Income Tax Preparation Services to Community

For the fourth 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 2012 tax season.

Batavia, New York — For the fourth 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 2012 tax season. Those interested may access walk-in sessions at GCC’s Batavia Campus or appointment-based services at Genesee County Department of Social Services (GCDSS).

There are four walk-in sessions scheduled at the GCC Batavia campus, all in room T204:
•Tuesday, February 12th 4:00-7:00 p.m.
•Tuesday, February 26th 4:00-7:00 p.m.
•Thursday, March 21st 4:00-7:00 p.m.
•Thursday, April 4th 4:00-7:00 p.m.

The appointment-based services are available from February 7th – April 9th at the Genesee County DSS at 5130 East Main Street, Batavia. To make an appointment, call 344-2580 ext. 6552.

Through VITA, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to community members with household income up to $51,000. Business tax returns or complicated capital gains transactions cannot be completed through the VITA program. VITA offers free electronic filing of returns, but each client also receives a copy of his or her return that has been prepared.

“Genesee Community College is once again pleased to offer this service to our local residents. Our certified volunteers consist of faculty and staff, as well as current and former students,” Cheryl Corke, GCC associate professor of accounting and business and VITA program director said. “Last year we prepared 176 Federal and NYS income tax returns. Through this effort, our clients received $214,000 in Federal Income Tax Refunds, including $48,000 in earned income tax credits, $15,000 in child tax credits and $17,500 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, 1099-R, 1099-Misc (interest and dividend statements from banks) forms and 1098-T (tuition statement) forms; social security cards for all persons listed on the tax return. A copy of last year’s Federal and State returns, if available, is suggested. In addition, bank account routing numbers and account numbers are also needed for direct deposit. Photo identification is required this year. 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,” Corke said. “We have several certified preparers from GCC including faculty and students and three people certified from DSS in addition to many others behind the scenes who have put time and effort into this endeavor.”

The certified volunteers undergo rigorous online training each year 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 cacorke@genesee.edu.

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