MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS — Beginning February 24, Monmouth College's free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will once again be available to area residents.
Through April 15, Monmouth accounting students and faculty will be available in the College's Center for Science and Business to help local community members file their 2019 tax returns. Known as VITA, the free service — which assists tax-payers in filing state and federal individual income-tax returns — is provided in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. Accounting professor Judy Peterson, coordinator of Monmouth's program, said VITA has a twofold purpose: Service and education for the community, and citizenship and education for the students. Sessions will be held on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays between February 10-April 15. VITA will not be available during the College's spring break: March 7, 9, 11, and 14. It will also not be available on April 11 and 13 because of Easter break. Saturday sessions are scheduled from 9AM-12PM and from 1-4PM. Monday and Wednesday sessions will be held from 4-7PM. Located at 720 East Broadway, the Center for Science and Business is handicapped accessible. Tax-payers should use the building's main south entrance, and signs will guide them to the correct interview room. On evenings and weekends, parking is available in the Center for Science and Business lot and along Broadway. Before 5PM on weekdays, tax-payers are asked to park on Broadway. To be eligible to participate in the program, tax-payers may have a maximum annual income of up to $64,000 for single filers and up to $103,000 for joint filers. "We will let you know if your tax return items are within the parameters of the VITA program," said Peterson, who has overseen VITA since it started at Monmouth in 2000. "VITA does not prepare complicated returns." Refunds that have the earned income-tax credit will not be processed by the IRS until mid-February, at the earliest, said Peterson. "Tax-payers who fall into that category should wait a few weeks before coming to a VITA session," she said. "In general, waiting times are much shorter for the tax-payers who come later in the season, so that's something to also keep in mind." Peterson is assisted in her direction of the program by accounting department colleague Connie Mersch. A photo ID and a Social Security card for each person filing must be brought to a VITA session. Questions about what else to bring can be answered by visiting monmouthcollege.edu/vita. Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.