Free Income-Tax Assistance Program Returns to Penn College

Published 01.24.2008

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The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, in which a dozen Pennsylvania College of Technology students helped hundreds of local residents prepare returns last year, soon will resume at the college's Madigan Library.

The free program will be offered from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday from Feb. 4 until April 10. Taxpayer services are not available when Penn College is closed or when students are on Spring Break (March 17-24). The site Room 102 on the library's first floor is for walk-ins only; appointments are not accepted.

In addition to preparation of federal, state and local income-tax returns, information will be available on refund procedures for the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax (now called the Local Services Tax) and for Pennsylvania's Property Tax and Rent Rebate program. Federal and state returns are filed electronically.

Volunteer preparers are tax, accounting, business, finance and legal students at Penn College. All volunteers are trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service. The college's VITA site is coordinated by Phillip D. Landers, professor of business administration and accounting in the School of Business and Computer Technologies.

During last year's tax season, 12 volunteers completed 202 federal and 189 state returns, amounting to refunds totaling $184,217 and $11,137, respectively. The students also helped prepare 125 to 150 local returns for taxpayers, and assisted three Lycoming County Prison inmates and six employees of the Hope Enterprises social-service agency.

The VITA program is designed for low- to moderate-income taxpayers who generally have less than $40,000 in income and non-complicated returns. Special emphasis is placed on the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

Those seeking tax assistance should bring:

  • a photo identification card, such as a valid driver's license or state-issued ID
  • W-2, 1099s and other documentation to support exemptions, income, credits, etc.
  • documentation for the Child Care Credit
  • a Social Security card or other supporting documentation
  • bank-routing and account numbers (up to three accounts) for direct deposit of refunds

An additional VITA site is available at The Salvation Army, 457 Market St., Williamsport. That site is by appointment only.

For more about the School of Business and Computer Technologies, visit online or call (570) 327-4517.

For general information about Penn College, visit on the Web, e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.