Lincoln Trail College students will help others with their tax preparation this year. The Future Business Leaders of America Collegiate program at LTC is participating in the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.
The VITA program has operated for over 50 years. VITA sites offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their tax returns. The program helps people who generally make $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers.
“The FBLA is excited to offer an IRS VITA Tax Office this spring,” says program advisor Amie Mayhall. “Our goal for the 2023 tax season is to prepare 50 returns.”
Mayhall says they first learned about the program from Barb Shimer, who learned of the program in Knox County, Indiana. Mayhall says she presented it to FBLA and they decided it was a perfect fit for a community service project.
Students will become certified tax preparers for the VITA program. They will complete the intake interview process and then complete the taxes with help and advice as needed. The taxes will be reviewed by Harlei Payne or Mayhall and then the students will walk the taxpayer through their tax return and give them their copies to take home.
LTC will operate its VITA Tax Office as an appointment-based dropoff and pickup site. People can make an appointment by calling Mayhall at 618-546-2229 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. She says they will be open for appointments from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays in Williams Hall Room 119. Taxpayers will make an appointment, bring their paperwork to their appointment, and go through an intake interview. Mayhall says the students will scan their paperwork and complete their taxes by the next Friday.
The VITA service is free of charge to the community. It can also be used by students and employees who are interested in the service.
Mayhall says this is going to be a valuable service for both the community and the students who are helping. “Many citizens do not feel comfortable or confident to prepare their taxes. Our students will learn how to complete taxes, prepare several returns this tax year, and be able to put into real life the topics they have learned. This could lead to a side business, a career, or just more confidence in preparing their returns in the future.”