Western Maryland College students and others trained by Internal Revenue Service agents will offer free tax help through the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
The program, open to students and others who cannot afford professional preparation services - especially older, handicapped and non-English-speaking taxpayers - emphasizes self-help assistance to those who can help with the preparation of their own taxes.
Students will provide complete tax preparation if needed, said Susan Milstein, professor of economics and business and coordinator of the WMC program.
Student volunteers earn academic credit for their work in VITA. All returns are checked by Milstein, a certified public accountant, and other volunteer CPAs before being sent to federal and state tax offices.
The VITA office at WMC will be open to the public Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Feb. 12 through April 9 in Gold Room B in Decker College Center. Office hours are: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The VITA program will not operate during WMC's spring break, March 15-24.
The complete VITA schedule is:
Tuesday: Feb. 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 26, April 2, 9.
Thursday: Feb. 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14, 28, April 4.
Saturday: Feb. 16, 23, March 2, 9, 30, April 6.
Appointments are required for all dates. Those seeking help should bring last year's federal and state tax returns and all of the necessary 2001 income verification forms (W-2, 1099, etc.).
Information and appointments: Steve Paul at 410-751-8186 or Susan Milstein at 410-857-2456.