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NSU partners with VITA to help Broken Arrow, Tahlequah communities prepare taxes

Members of the community will have the option of obtaining free tax preparation through a Northeastern State University partnership with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Volunteer efforts will be available at two locations this year, the NSU-Broken Arrow campus and the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah.

Low to moderate income taxpayers with incomes of $60,000 or less are eligible to take advantage of the service offered at the Broken Arrow campus. Certified, trained volunteers will be available by appointment to prepare basic federal and state tax returns. Trained volunteers will also be available at the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah to assist individuals with incomes of $54,000 or less.

In addition, those who would like to file their own taxes online can access the necessary tax software for free. NSU’s partnership with MyFreeTaxes provides easy, self-guided federal and state tax preparation for those with incomes of $64,000 or less. The tax filing software made available by H&R Block at www.myfreetaxes.com enables individuals to prepare their tax returns from anywhere there is internet access.

“Last year the VITA program prepared almost 600 tax returns for low to moderate income taxpayers at the Broken Arrow location,” said Justin Halpern, professor of accounting. “The VITA program is one of NSU's most valuable community services. For many members of our community, their tax refund is the largest amount of cash they receive every year and VITA makes it possible for them avoid paying a large amount of their refund to commercial tax preparation services.”

While the central location to receive assistance is in Broken Arrow, the service it not exclusive to those community members.

“VITA is open to anyone who meets the income limitations. We have people coming from all over the Tulsa area, Muskogee, and even Tahlequah,” Halpern said. “Also, this year we are sending NSU accounting students to the VITA program at the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah. Anyone with a qualifying income can take advantage of these services.”

The tax preparation services will begin Jan. 30 and conclude on April 17, with the exception of spring break from March 13-18. The VITA Lab on the Broken Arrow campus is open Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30-7:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in room 118 of the library building. Appointments are strongly recommended and can be made by calling Community Action (CARD) at 918-486-2471; however, walk-ins will be served if time permits.

The Vita Lab at the Cherokee Nation will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from Feb. 1 through April 13. Appointments can be made by calling 918-453-5536.

Those seeking assistance with tax preparation should come prepared with the following:
 
  • Photo proof of identification
  • Physical copy of Social Security Card for you, your spouse and dependents and / or Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements, Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Form 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s Federal and State Tax returns, if available
  • Bank Routing Number and Account Number for Direct Deposit
  • Payment made to day care providers including tax identification number of the day care provider (provider’s Social Security Number or business Employer Identification Number)
  • All documents issued that state “furnished to the IRS”
  • Any documents that deal with health insurance coverage, 1095-A, 1099-SSA, exemption certificates, etc.
  • To file taxes electronically for “married filing joint” tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms

For more information, contact Bruce McDaniel at 918-449-6517 or mcdani15@nsuok.edu, or Justin Halpern at 918-449-6525 or halpernj@nsuok.edu

Published: 1/17/2017 10:30:48 AM

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