WC Students IRS-Certified to Provide Free Tax Preparation Assistance

January 4, 2018

Group Expands in Size and Capabilities from Last Year’s Successful Program

As tax season approaches, a number of Wilmington College students are looking forward to assisting persons in Clinton and surrounding counties in preparing their annual tax returns.

PICTURED: Wesley Pierson works on a tax return at WC’s VITA site, along with Tara Karnes and Aubrey Richardson, during the 2017 tax season.

Last year, the students secured a 100 percent IRS rating in completing 82 tax returns — free of charge — as a community service that gives the accounting and business majors a valuable hands-on learning opportunity.

Allen Beatty, assistant professor of accounting and IRS Enrolled Agent/Site Manager, will again supervise the group, which is 50 percent larger than last year and expected to be able to increase its volume of tax returns.

“We have a lot of returning students from 2017, plus some new blood,” Beatty said in noting how impressed both he and the IRS were with their tax preparation work in 2017. “Last year far exceeded what I thought we could do. This goes beyond professor and students. I look at them as co-workers like when I was back in the corporate world.”

The 12 IRS-certified, volunteer tax preparers will offer this service as part of the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). Wilmington College is a VITA site that offers tax help to persons of low and modrate income who, generally, make less than $54,000, as well as taxpayers with disabilities or with limited English-speaking skills.

The students will provide basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. This service generally includes basic returns of wage earners (W-2) and retirees (1099-R and Social Security), who might also have such additional forms of income as interest, dividends (1099-INT, DIV) and unemployment (1099-G).

Preparation of a limited amount of itemized returns (Schedule A with home mortgage, interest, charitable contributions, medical expenses, etc.) will also be available, along with those featuring such popular credits as Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Credit, Retirement Savers Credit, etc. Also, this year, the students will be able to work with taxpayers claiming capital gains and losses, and those with self-employment income.

All dozen student volunteers have passed at least three levels of IRS certification and some also have taken Beatty’s tax accounting course. Senior Tara Karnes, an accounting major and veteran VITA site preparer, will again assist Beatty in managing the College’s VITA site.

Hours of operation will be Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 5 to 8 p.m., between Jan. 30 and April 12, and on Saturdays, Feb. 10 and March 24, from 9 a.m. to noon. The group is considering adding some daytime hours on weekdays. Sessions will be held in WC’s Center for the Sciences and Agriculture, corner of College and Elm streets.

More information is available by contacting Beatty at al_beatty@wilmington.edu or (937) 481-2390 while appointments can be scheduled with Karnes at (937) 763-9932 or tkarnes@wilmington.edu.