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MSU Program Offers Free Tax Preparation to Seniors

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/missourist_5900.mp3

As the Ozarks prepares for another tax season, this year could be a little easier on Springfield’s senior citizens thanks to a new grant that will get their taxes prepared at no cost. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes reports.

Missouri State University has offered free tax preparation services to low income individuals, students, and those who speak English as a second language for over 20 years. This is the first year that the Volunteer Individual Income Tax Program, or VITA will be accessible to senior citizens because of a tax grant that was awarded by the Greene County Senior Citizens Services Fund.

The grant will allow the MSU student ran tax sites to expand their free services to Greene County Seniors in 2010.

Dr. Sandra Byrd, professor in MSU’s school of accountancy and director of the Low Income Tax Clinic says that all of the volunteers are extremely qualified.

Volunteers of the VITA program will assist Greene County seniors in preparing and e-filing federal and state tax returns and preparing Missouri Property Tax Credit forms at no cost.

In 2004 nearly 17,000 people took advantage of the VITA program because it is both reliable and cost effective.

Michael Devine, spokesperson for the IRS in Missouri, says that it is important to choose a reliable tax preparer because if you don’t, it is your responsibility to fix their mistakes.

The free tax service for Greene County seniors will take place on various days between January 31st and April 15th, with locations scattered throughout Springfield.

For more information on the tax preparation program you can visit our website at KSMU.org. If you are interested in volunteering with VITA you can call 836-3007.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.

E-mail contact information:

Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC): SandraByrd@MissouriState.edu

Volunteer Individual Tax Assistance (VITA): KerriTassin@MissouriState.edu