Indiana University

News Release

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Last modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

IU Maurer School of Law and Kelley School of Business offering free tax assistance

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Jan. 23, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Students from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and the IU Kelley School of Business in Bloomington are providing free tax assistance to low-income, elderly, disabled and limited-English-speaking residents over the next month.

The students are participating in the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program, beginning next week at the law school, 211 S. Indiana Ave., in Room 125. The walk-in clinic will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through March 7. Saturday sessions will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 2 and 23 in Rooms 200 and 202 of the undergraduate building of the Kelley School of Business, 1309 E. 10th St. All program volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS.

Those with an annual income of $51,000 or less are eligible for the free tax preparation help, provided they have not received income from the sale of stocks, mutual funds or homes and do not own businesses. Student assistants can help qualifying taxpayers navigate the often complex task of filing state and federal tax returns, said Patrick Thomas, an IU Maurer School of Law student and one of the school's VITA program coordinators.

"The VITA program helps low- to moderate-income taxpayers avoid the fees charged by commercial tax preparers while ensuring they receive any tax benefits for which they qualify, particularly the Earned Income Tax Credit," Thomas said. "In addition, VITA offers free e-filing, which promptly sends any refund to the taxpayer without need of a high-interest tax anticipation loan."

Taxpayers wanting to participate in the VITA program are encouraged to bring relevant tax documents to the walk-in clinic: a W-2, photo identification, Social Security card and documents from other income sources. Filers must also bring the Social Security cards for any dependents they want to claim. If taxpayers are filing jointly, both husband and wife must be present. Copies of last year's tax returns aren't required but are helpful to tax preparers. Non-U.S. citizens should bring their passports and immigration paperwork.

Ajay Mehrotra, associate dean for research, professor of law and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow at the Maurer School, said the VITA program benefits both residents and students.

"The VITA program is an excellent opportunity for our students to give back to the Bloomington community by using their knowledge to assist low-income taxpayers," Mehrotra said. "It is also a good way for students to learn more about the federal income tax system and how it touches so many aspects of everyday life."

Students from the Kelley School of Business, coordinated by the Beta Alpha Psi honorary fraternity, will also be assisting with tax preparation services.

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