UST Students, Volunteers Provide Free Income Tax Preparation

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UST Students, Volunteers Provide Free Income Tax Preparation
Photo: Tax filingFor the 28th consecutive year, more than 50 University of St. Thomas accounting students, alumni and volunteers are providing free tax preparation through the IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program) in north Houston from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays Jan. 29 through April 15. Preparers will offer free tax assistance and electronic filing at the MD Anderson YMCA, 705 Cavalcade, near the Irvington intersection.

“The UST/YMCA site has been one of the largest ones in the city; we do anywhere from 100-150 returns per Saturday,” said Professor Ramon Fernandez, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CMA, CIA, who oversees the VITA program for UST. “It is managed and run completely by UST students, alumni, and friends. UST alumna Lucy Petry, CPA, is back this year as our very valued site manager. We are a 100 percent computerized VITA site providing free electronic filing.”

Tax preparation is available for Forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and even the long form 1040. The program also offers assistance with itemized deductions (Schedule A, beginning Saturday, February 19), interest and dividend income (Schedule B), simple capital gains and losses (Schedule D), and most of the personal credits (earned income credit, child tax credit, education credits, dependent care credit, etc...). However, they are not able to assist with more complicated returns such as self-employment income (Schedule C), rent and royalty and K-1 income (Schedule E). They also cannot prepare Form 1040NR, which is the form required of nonresident aliens and foreign (F-1 Visa) students. However, there is a volunteer site at the University of Houston - Central Campus that only does these Forms 1040NR.

Bring a copy of the previous year’s return (if available), the social security cards of taxpayer/spouse/dependents, and current year tax forms and papers such as W-2s, 1099s, bank and investment statements, 1098-T tuition and textbook payments, 1098-E student loan interest, 1098 mortgage interest and property taxes, child care provider statements.

Volunteers will be available beginning at 9 a.m. on the following Saturdays: Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 26 April 2, 9. Appointments are not accepted on Saturdays; guests will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive before 12:30 p.m., as each return takes about an hour to complete. Weekday tax return assistance is available by appointment only on Monday through Thursday 4-8 pm; call the YMCA at 713-697-0648 for a weekday appointment.

For more information on this service or its schedule, contact Ramon Fernandez at 713-525-2103.

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