SMWC students provide free tax assistance

January 31st, 2013 |

Puzzled by the tax law or which credits to take? Need assistance with your tax return?  The trained volunteers at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) can help.

For the fourth year, SMWC participates in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to help low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Through VITA, which is a national program, certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country.

At SMWC, 10 students received extensive training to assist citizens and residents with their federal and Indiana income tax returns. These business majors must successfully complete a 10-hour certification test, and also another 8 hour advanced certification test. During the last tax season, students prepared 225 tax returns.

“The VITA Program provides our students with practical tax experience outside the classroom,” said Jamie McCracken, SMWC assistant professor of business and co-coordinator of SMWC’s VITA services. “VITA is a perfect way for students to receive real life experience while helping the community.”

VITA services will be provided at SMWC on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon - 3p.m. beginning February 4, 2013, and lasting through April 15, 2013.

The SMWC VITA site will offer free electronic filing (e-filing) and, according to the website, “Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster if you have your refund deposited directly into your bank account.”

Those who wish to have tax returns prepared at a VITA site must bring:

  • Proof of identification
  • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Current year’s tax package if you received one
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s Federal and State returns if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
  • Total paid for day care provider and the day care provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
  • To file taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

If you have a simple return and the entire information ready, it may be dropped off at Hulman Hall, Room 02 (right next door to the VITA site), and you will be contacted when it is completed. The completion of additional forms is required.

To reserve an appointment with SMWC’s VITA site to file your e-file or paper return, call 812-535-5223 . The site location is in the lower level of Hulman Hall Room 01. For directions, visit

Senior accounting major Jennifer Hughes, is interviewed on local CBS and NBC affiliates and shares her experience in preparing taxes for the community.



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