February 06, 2008

Free income tax preparation help available

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Accounting students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale are offering free income tax preparation help to low- and moderate-income families in Jackson and Williamson counties.

The service will be available every Saturday between Feb. 9 and April 12 from 9 a.m. to noon on the lower level in Rehn Hall, 1025 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale.

The students, in the School of Accountancy at SIUC's College of Business and Administration, belong to Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting fraternity. They are participating in the Volunteer Income Technical Assistance program, which offers free assistance to low- to moderate-income people (under $40,000 annually).

Those interested in receiving help do not need to make an appointment. However, they should bring appropriate documentation, including W-2 and 1099 or 1098 forms, a Social Security card, a copy of their 2007 tax return and the amount of the advanced child tax credit received last summer or fall.

"It is a win-win situation for everyone that takes advantage of VITA," said Gary Dillard, VITA coordinator and a graduate student in accounting. "It's great for the public because they are getting free service that may have otherwise caused them an unnecessary financial burden, while the students get a chance to put their technical skills to a practical test, many for the first time."

For more information, contact Dillard at dillard3@siu.edu or 618/599-1353.