EMCC provides free tax preparation; Saturdays thru April 13

Valley of the Sun United Way VITA site
February 01, 2013

AVONDALE, Arizona – Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) and the Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW) will again be providing free tax preparation services to individuals and families with low or limited income, disabilities, senior citizens and limited English speaking abilities.  This is the third year that EMCC has partnered with VSUW to be a community site for the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

VITA offers IRS-trained and certified volunteers to help prepare, process and electronically file basic tax returns for personal income. They also help taxpayers realize benefits they may not be aware of, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is available to those who earned $50, 270 or less in 2012. During the 2011-12 tax season 680 households who had their taxes prepared at one of the eight Valley of the Sun United Way VITA sites located in the West Valley received more than $1 million in tax refunds.

EMCC’s Business Institute prepares qualified volunteers by offering an accounting course, ACC 121, Income Tax Preparation, in the fall semester proceeding the tax season. Successful completers of the course receive three levels of certification to be eligible for the VITA program. This year, EMCC has ten students that will be volunteering their expertise and time as part of their internship requirement. Accounting adjunct faculty Kortney Song and Lori Orth not only teach the students, they are the EMCC VITA site coordinators.

“The VITA program highlights how EMCC develops coursework and builds cooperative partnerships in support of student learning and community service,” said Song.

The EMCC VITA site will be offering services every Saturday, February 2 through April 13, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., in Estrella Hall rooms 251 and 253, on the EMCC campus located at 3000 North Dysart Road in Avondale, Arizona. No appointments are necessary and the services are free to those who qualify.

In order to prepare taxes accurately and efficiently, the following items will be required:

*Social Security cards, IRS ITIN card or ITIN letter for all household members
*Picture ID for taxpayer (and spouses)
*Birth dates for all persons listed on the tax return
*Proof of all income, including W-2 and 1099 forms
*Name, address, and tax ID# of childcare provider
*Amount of money paid to childcare provider last year
*Account and routing numbers for direct deposit
*Copy of last year's tax return, if available
* If filing jointly, both adults must be present to sign the return.

For more information, contact business faculty Clarissa Davis-Ragland at 623-935-8594, or visit the VSUW website www.vsuw.org.

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Estrella Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training to approximately 15,000 students annually. The flagship campus is located on Thomas and Dysart Roads in Avondale and is home to the SouthWest Skill Center. The satellite campus, EMCC’s Buckeye Educational Center, is located in downtown Buckeye. Estrella Mountain is one of ten colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation, and in the 2012-13 academic year, celebrates 50 years of providing accessible and affordable higher education.  www.estrellamountain.edu or www.maricopa.edu .