Faculty Member Brings Free Tax Services to Community College

It’s been a few years in the making but for the first time, GateWay Community College is a VITA – Volunteer Individual Tax Assistance – site this tax season.

Accounting Faculty Annette Torrey was looking to provide accounting students with real-world experience, while helping the community.

"This opportunity gives students practical work experience," said Torrey. "Upon completion, they will have actual tax research and preparation experience, which will give them a leg-up when entering the accounting job market. My hope is to expand our internship opportunities in the near future."

A few years ago, a select group of GateWay students earned IRS Training and volunteered at a VITA site off campus.  The experience proved to be successful for all those involved. The natural progression was to bring these services to GateWay where they could be made available for the campus community as well as the community at large.

This year, seven GateWay Business accounting students completed IRS training and earned the VITA Advance Tax Certification to volunteer at the GateWay VITA site. 

GateWay’s VITA site is offering free tax assistance services through April 12. The service is offered Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The assistance is operated from a Library classroom. The Library is located in the Integrated Education Building (IE) in the center of campus, 108 N. 40th Street, Phoenix.

As a full-service provider, the interns will electronically prepare and file federal and Arizona state returns for free. This year’s interns can provide services in English and Spanish in order to better serve the community needs.  Clients will need to meet a certain income requirements to qualify for the services.

GateWay is also providing self-assisted services (FSA - Facilitated Self Assistance) at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and on April 12, in the GateWay Career Center. 

The FSA designation means individuals will be allowed to prepare their federal and state returns for free on campus.  VITA Intern Students will be available to answer questions should students or community members have questions.

Those interested need to bring the following items to have tax returns prepared at a VITA site:

  • Proof of identification – Picture ID
  • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration or
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
  • Proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number) if appropriate
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

For more information, contact Torrey at (602) 286-8583 or torrey@gatewaycc.edu.

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