Cresson, Pa. – Area residents seeking help with tax returns can find it through the Mount Aloysius College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is now in its fifth year at Mount Aloysius College. Members of the Student Accounting Society (SAS) have received training by a Pittsburgh-based IRS representative. Student VITA volunteers – accounting majors and MBA grad students – have earned IRS certification during intensive training at the College, have set up shop and are ready to help. VITA tax help is available through the month of March.
Mount Aloysius President Tom Foley noted that the response from business student volunteers is heartening but not surprising. “Every club on our campus has a community service component built right into the club’s constitution,” said President Foley. ”Last semester alone, students at Mount Aloysius College donated nearly 8,000 hours of service to the community. Giving back to our community is a central part of what we call our Mount Aloysius Campus Compact. Simply stated,” he said, “at Mount Aloysius, our goal is educating students to become job-ready, technology-ready and community-ready. Community service is part of who we are as educators and regional neighbors. We’re glad to be able to offer this service to the community.”
To qualify for VITA tax preparation help, area residents must be of low to moderate income, with families earning $50,000 and below. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, Most Aloysius College – like most VITA sites – also offers free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program should receive refunds in half the time compared to paper returns – even faster when tax refunds are deposited directly into a bank account.
Mr. Christopher Mingyar, Business Department faculty member and VITA coordinator noted that clients should call ahead to make an appointment. “The phone number for the VITA office is 886-6365. If there is not an answer,” he added, “please leave a message, so one of our program coordinators can call you back.” Senior accounting students Alexandra Mezza and Danielle McKnight serve as volunteer coordinators for this year’s Mount Aloysius VITA effort.
The Mount Aloysius College VITA Office is located in the iconic Main Building, room 101-C. Hours of operation are by appointment, so it is best to call ahead. Reserved VITA client parking is available on the north side of the Main Building near historic Alumni Hall.
Anyone who qualifies and who wishes to use the Mount Aloysius College’s VITA program should treat the service no differently than if they were going to an accountant. Items needed to complete their return may include: proof of identification; Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration; Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents; Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN; birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return; wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers; interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099); a copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available; proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit, such as a blank check; total paid for daycare providers and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s Social Security Number or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number).
VITA volunteers stressed that for couples filing jointly, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
The Mount Aloysius College community service during the summer and fall of 2013 totaled nearly 8,000 hours. During that time various college groups completed 222 service projects throughout the southern Allegheny Mountain region as well as projects like the recent New Orleans service trip that touched people in other parts of the country and around the world in areas like Haiti and Guyana. Mount Aloysius College service opportunities seek solutions to problems in such diverse areas as economic opportunity, education, environment, health and wellness, veterans and deployed personnel. One hundred percent of Mount Aloysius College students perform community service as part of their educational experience.