Albany State University Students to Offer Free Tax-Preparation Help

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Albany State University College of Business students are preparing federal and state tax returns free of charge for local community members. The sessions aim to assist low-to-moderate income families and individuals and elderly citizens.

Appointments and drop-in sessions begin Feb. 5 and will last until April 14. Community members making $54,000 or less are encouraged to stop by the student-run tax workshops Monday – Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Peace Hall, room 122, on the ASU East Campus.

Alicia Jackson, dean of the College of Business, worked with students to ensure each student is Internal Revenue Service certified. Students will complete tax returns for clients and guarantee that those who are filing will receive the earned income tax credit, if eligible. The certification is a part of each preparer’s College of Business internship requirement.

The student sessions are a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. TCE serves to address the needs of individuals 60 years and older who may have concerns about pensions or retirement in regards to tax preparation.

“If last year is any indication, our community seems to appreciate the capability, congeniality and professionalism of our students, in addition to having access to the free tax service,” Jackson said. “The VITA program also serves as a wonderful learning experience for our students and reinforces a skill set they can use personally and professionally.”

Prior to filing, all returns are reviewed by Jackson and Cakeitha Harris-Perry.. Harris-Perry is an ASU staff member and current College of Business student. She served as a professional tax preparer for H & R Block for 10 years.

According to the National Society of Accountants, the average tax prep fee is $176, for those with a 1040 and state return and no itemized deductions. With itemized deductions, the fee can exceed $450.

Those interested in attending a session should bring the following documents:

Proof of identification (photo ID)

Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number assignment letter may be substituted for you, your

spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number

Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN

Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return

Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers

Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)

Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received

A copy of 2015 federal and state returns, if available

Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check

To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms

Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax  identification  number such as their

Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number

Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements

Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable