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SIU students offering free income tax help

CARBONDALE — A group of Southern Illinois University (SIU) students are preparing taxes for local residents for free.

SIU said in a January post on their website that Beta Alpha Psi, an SIU College of Business honors accounting student organization, is sponsoring the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in 2019 to assist low-and moderate-income community members and fellow students in completing their tax returns.

The post reported that program kicked off on Feb. 9 and will be going on each Saturday until April 6. Free tax preparation help will be available from 8 a.m. until noon in the computer lab on the lower level of Rehn Hall, located at 1025 Lincoln Drive. There will be no sessions on March 9 or 16 due to the SIU’s spring break.

There are 25 accounting and law students doing the preparation. Electronic filing is also free.

No appointments are required during the tax sessions but it is on a first-come, first served basis. Sessions end at noon so latecomers may be asked to return the following week. Most tax returns are completed in an hour or less.

VITA assistance is open to any U.S. citizen, whether single or married, as long as their income does not exceed $55,000 and they take the standard federal deduction. All American SIU students who meet the income guideline can also get help. However, VITA is no longer able to serve international students so those students will need to reach out to tax professionals for help.

If you will be using VITA assistance, bring legal identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, as well as all other current tax documents. That includes W-2s, SSA-1099s, 1099-MISCs or 1098-Ts as well as any other relevant documentation. People should also bring their Form 1095-B or some other proof of insurance to avoid a penalty for not having health insurance, because the insurance requirement is still in place for 2018 tax returns.

For more information, email SIUVITA2019@gmail.com or call (618) 453-2289.

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