ECC Will Offer Free Tax Service

For the first time, East Central College (ECC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in partnership with Franklin County Habitat for Humanity and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Franklin County are proud to offer free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to low- to moderate-income families. Free tax preparation services are available from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday afternoons and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday mornings. Assistance will be available through April 13 with the exception of March 22, 23, 29 and 30. Services will be provided in Room AC160 on East Central College’s Union campus (parking near the ECC Theater is readily available).

The program, which is part of the ECC Business Department’s community outreach program, uses IRS-trained and certified volunteers to assist in the preparation of and e-filing of IRS and Missouri tax forms for those low- and moderate-income taxpayers with total household incomes of less than $51,000. Tax forms completed include the Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim for qualified seniors and disabled people to receive a rebate of their Missouri Real Estate Taxes paid in 2012.

Taxpayers who take part in the program will need to provide the following:

» Valid driver’s license or photo identification (self and spouse, if applicable)

» Social Security cards for all persons listed on the return

» Dates of birth for all persons listed on the return

» All income statements: Forms W-2, 1099s, Social Security, unemployment, or other benefits statements, self-employment records, interest income, and any documents showing taxes withheld

» Dependent child care information: payee’s name, address, and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number

» Proof of account at financial institution for direct debit or deposit (e.g., canceled/voided check or bank statement)

» Last year’s tax return

» 1098-T’s tuition statements (for those households with students in 2012)

This is a walk-in, first-come, first-served tax service that will commence on East Central College’s Union campus starting February 15, 2013. You do not need to be a resident of Franklin County to receive these services. Only basic tax return services are offered, no partnership, complex investment or other complex tax returns will be completed. Returns will be e-Filed within 48 hours of their completion. Individuals are reminded they must bring their Missouri State Photo Identification, Social Security Cards for everyone in the household, W-2’s, 1099’s, childcare documentation, last year’s tax returns and any other applicable tax paperwork.

“It is important that taxpayers turn to trained tax preparers such as VITA’s IRS-trained team,” said James K. Carter, CPA, one of two ECC instructors coordinating the program. “Refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Missouri Property Tax Credit, go unclaimed every year and we are looking to help those that qualify to get these credits.”

Long-time ECC accounting and business instructor Dan Hall added, “This is the time of year when Internet spams appear with respect to the EITC. Beware of that spam. The IRS does not email people to request any personal information.”

The IRS estimates that 20 to 25 percent of eligible taxpayers fail to claim the credit which could put as much as $4,824 into the pockets of a family with two children, or send as much as $2,917 to a family with one child, or up to $438 for a worker with no children. The Earned Income Tax Credit is the federal government’s largest program benefiting lower earning workers.

“The extra dollars eligible taxpayers can get through EITC can make their lives a little easier,” said Carter, “but they must file tax returns, even if they aren’t required to file, and claim the credit to receive it.”

Carter said some individuals and families may qualify for the credit for the first time because of unemployment or other changes in their financial, marital or parental status during the past year. He encourages people to come to room AC160 (near the ECC Theater) on Friday afternoon or Saturday mornings with the documentation mentioned above to see if they qualify. As it is first-come, first-served, please expect a wait for services in this free program. Either Mr. Carter or Mr. Hall will review all tax returns before they are filed as a quality review.

People with questions can contact James K. Carter, CPA, ECC Accounting Instructor, at (636) 584-6639 or via email at JKCarter@EastCentral.edu.

For over 40 years, East Central College has served thousands of people in Franklin County and the surrounding area, playing a vital role in the growth of the community. ECC’s commitment to personalized education is supported by a strong belief in the practical value of both academic and technical education. The College offers a variety of extracurricular activities, as well as fine and performing events to delight the senses and stimulate the mind of the community and ECC’s over 4,100 students.

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