Waubonsee volunteers to provide free income tax preparation sessions
AURORA—A team of volunteers associated with Waubonsee Community College will not only help hundreds of local low- to moderate-income residents follow the law, they’ll also help them collect a bit of money due them.
The approximately 75 volunteers will also help to fuel the local economy.
That’s how George Sterling, Certified Public Accountant and instructor at Waubonsee, sees the mission of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
“Last year, we brought at least $1.5 million back into the local economy,” Sterling said. “That’s a big deal.”
This year, Waubonsee will again partner with the Center for Economic Progress to sponsor the free income tax return preparation assistance sessions for eligible members of the community.
The sessions will take place on Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from Feb. 19 to April 12 at Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora Campus, 18 S. River Street.
The site will be closed during spring break between Wednesday, March 19, and Saturday, March 22.
At these sessions, volunteers from Waubonsee and the Center for Economic Progress will help prepare and electronically file income tax returns, including those requiring the 1040 Schedule C used by small businesses and the self-employed.
Those eligible for the program include families with annual incomes of $50,000 or less, and individuals with annual incomes less than $25,000. Those seeking tax return preparation assistance at the VITA sessions should bring a copy of last year’s tax return, if they have one; Forms W-2 and 1099 from all employment in 2013; Social Security cards for all family members; and a photo ID.
The free income tax return preparation is done on a first-come, first-served basis, and the site closes when capacity is reached.
Last year, VITA volunteers at Waubonsee helped complete about 800 tax returns, generating about $1.5 million in federal income tax refunds, including about $460,000 in federal Earned Income Tax Credits, to local families, said Sterling, who together with his wife, Therese, manages the Waubonsee VITA site.
He said the sessions annually draw a strong corps of volunteers, including Waubonsee students and local CPAs from throughout the region, including the communities of Aurora, St. Charles, Batavia, Naperville, Lisle and Montgomery, among others.