Free Income Tax Assistance Service Offered
Low and moderate income individuals, families and senior citizens can once again receive free assistance in completing and filing their federal, state and local tax returns through The University of Scranton’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and a group of local human service organizations led by the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.
For more than 20 years, University of Scranton accounting students have assisted residents with low and moderate incomes who need help with their basic tax returns through the VITA program.
“This program would not be possible without the dedicated support of the University students and the United Way volunteers working together and spending countless hours throughout the tax season to help families and individuals become more financially stable and economically independent,” said Gary Drapek, president of the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties. “This program is a prime example of bringing community partners together to advance the common good for all in our region.”
“During times such as these, a program like this can have a huge impact on families in our community,” said Drapek, who noted that last year, University of Scranton students and IRS-trained and certified program volunteers completed more than 1,200 tax returns with more than $1 million being returned to the community – and the family budgets of those most in need of this infusion of fiscal resources.
The VITA walk-in service (no appointment is necessary) will be offered on the first floor of Brennan Hall, Madison Avenue, on the University’s campus on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Feb. 8 to March 16, and from March 28 to April 1. Hours of service will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on scheduled Fridays in February and 9 a.m. to noon on scheduled Fridays in March and April. Service will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and advance appointments cannot be made. For additional information, call 941-4045.
Residents using the VITA service are asked to bring the following items: a valid photo ID; all W2 Forms; all 1099 forms (interest, dividends, pensions); local wage tax forms; Social Security numbers or ITIN for all taxpayers and dependents; W-7 forms if appropriate; last year’s tax returns; information related to income and expenses; real estate tax receipts; and a personal banking account check if you would like direct deposit.
Appointments are required for a special kick-off session on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, and for a session on Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The University of Scranton. Call 343-1267, ext. 222, to make an appointment. A Spanish language interpreter is also available upon request.
Appointments are also required for VITA service offered by University of Scranton students and other volunteers organized by the United Way at area community centers, including the Carbondale Senior Community Center, the Valley Community Library in Peckville, the Taylor Community Library, the Abington Area Community Library, the Elmhurst Municipal Building, and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce in Honesdale. (See the attached schedule for dates and time.) The full schedule is also available by visiting www.uwlc.net or calling 343-1267, ext. 222.
The Tax Assistance Committee Members are The University of Scranton VITA Program, The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, Catholic Social Services of Lackawanna County, United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA, the Voluntary Action Center of NEPA, Marywood University, and the Consumer Credit Counseling of NEPA.