For over 40 years, LIU Brooklyn accounting students have offered moderate and low-income students and residents of the local community free assistance in preparing income tax returns through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center (VITA).
Members of the Accounting Society at LIU Brooklyn are trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide, basic income tax-return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.
In the 2015 tax season, volunteers—including 18 students and one alumnus—served 470 members of the community, including 431 who filed their Federal and State returns with the VITA program, which provided services both at LIU Brooklyn and at the office of New York State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan in Bushwick. Thirty-nine more members of the community came in for information, which they were then able to use to complete their tax returns.
The 378 Federal returns filed through VITA generated $398,656 in refunds, while the 415 New York State and 19 International Paper returns generated $129,708, bringing that sum of money back to the community. The average Federal Refund was $536, while the average NYS Refund was $340. Payments to New York State from taxpayers filing through VITA totaled $21,105.
VITA services are available to anyone with an annual income of $53,000 or less. Students can assist taxpayers in preparing the following federal returns: 1040EZ, 1040A, 1040 (Schedules A and B), and forms 2441 and 8863. State returns that can be prepared include IT 200 and IT 201. Interested taxpayers must bring valid photo identification, social security cards for themselves and any dependents, and all records of income from 2014, including W-2 and 1099 forms. Taxpayers are encouraged to bring copies of last year’s tax returns, if possible. Services are available in English, Russian, Mandarin, Amharic, and Spanish languages.
VITA walk-in services are available from late January through mid-April on LIU Brooklyn campus. For more information, or to find out about language accommodations, please call 718-780-4062 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.