• 50°

UWA bringing VITA to Demopolis

By Jeremy D. Smith

jsmith@demopolistimes.com

The University of West Alabama College of Business has taken part in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for eight years and will bring its helping hands to the Theo Ratliff Activity Center Jan. 20.

The VITA program offers free tax preparation assistance to individuals who meet certain qualifications.

Volunteers help prepare basic income tax returns for low-income taxpayers or those with special needs such as the elderly, non-English speaking persons and persons with disabilities.

“This is a well established program that has been provided in Livingston by the UWA College of Business as a service to UWA students, faculty, staff, and the residents of West Alabama for 8 years,” Sharon Stipe, site-coordinator for UWA’s VITA Clinic said. “The program is sponsored by the IRS and administered by UWA accounting faculty and students.

“The students receive class credit for participating in the clinic, interviewing the clients and preparing the income tax returns. The returns are then reviewed and e-filed. We currently serve approximately 200 clients at the Livingston site. We also provide service in Eutaw several days during filing season.”

Through this program, individuals with less than $57,000 annual income are able to receive free tax preparation at established VITA sites.

The UWA VITA Clinic utilized the Demopolis Higher Education center to provide the service last year, but found little success.

In an effort to reach more clients this year, the program will be at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center.

The program will take place each Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Jan. 20.

Trained UWA accounting students will prepare the income tax returns and submit them to professors for approval before e-filing them.

Individuals seeking more information are encouraged to contact Stipe at UWA at 205-652-3846.