WMC students offer free help with taxes

January 15, 1995

Tax time presents another educational opportunity at Western Maryland College, where students participate in a tax preparation program that benefits those who can't afford professional help.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, administered by the Internal Revenue Service, trains volunteers to help prepare tax returns for low-to-moderate-income taxpayers. The program will be open to the public on Feb. 14 in Decker College Center's Gold Room B and continues on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through April 13. The service is free.

VITA offers taxpayers a chance to learn more about how taxes work while training students -- many of whom will have careers in finance as accountants, investors and brokers -- to provide reliable tax assistance, said Susan Milstein, associate professor of economics and business administration at Western Maryland.

Western Maryland's VITA volunteers will receive four days of training this month for preparing forms 1040 EZ, 1040A, 1040 and MarylandUs tax form. The students will receive college credit.

Because of a $500 student grant from the college, donations of software from Kiplinger Corp., computers from Paladin Microcomputer Systems and a computer table from Staples, students also will prepare some tax returns by using computer programs. All completed forms will be checked for accuracy by another student, and by Ms. Milstein or one of three other Certified Public Accountants who volunteer to supervise the program.

Last year about 30 students helped 100 people, more than half of whom were from the local community. The program, which is in its third year, will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 14, 16, 21, 23 and 28; March 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 28 and 30; April 4, 6, 11 and 13. Saturday hours are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 18 and 25; March 4 and 11 and April 1 and 8.

Information: Michelle Hertsch, 549-7382 of Karen Beamer, 857-8005 or 857-2290.

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