UW-Green Bay students to provide free income tax assistance beginning Feb. 14

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students again will provide free income tax assistance for low-income individuals and families, the elderly and students through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Return preparation begins the week of Feb. 13, and runs through Thursday, April 5. However, no service will be provided the week of March 12 because of the University’s spring break.

Scheduled times and Green Bay locations for tax assistance are:

  • Tuesdays, 5 to 8 p.m., Oneida Community Education Center, 2632 South Packerland Drive
  • Wednesdays, 5 to 8 p.m., The Salvation Army, 626 Union Court
  • Thursdays, 5 to 8 p.m., Brown County Public Library, 515 Pine St.

Appointments are necessary for all three sites and can be made by calling (920) 465-2141. The service, including filing federal and Wisconsin income tax returns electronically, is provided at no cost to taxpayers.

To assist volunteers, taxpayers should bring: Social Security cards for each member of the family; federal and Wisconsin income tax returns for 2010 if available; current year information, including W-2 forms showing wages earned and 1099 forms reporting interest, dividends, pensions or Social Security benefits received in 2011; tuition payment statements (Form 1098-T); receipts for property taxes paid in 2011; a rent certificate and/or a copy of their 2011 property tax bill if they might be able to claim the Wisconsin Homestead Credit; information regarding other receipts such as per capita income distributions and SSI payments; a record of any estimated tax payments made last year; and a void check from a checking account or deposit slip from a savings account to allow for direct deposit of a refund.

The VITA program targets taxpayers entitled to claim the Wisconsin Homestead Credit and federal earned income and college education credits — especially the American Opportunity Credit, said faculty adviser James Loebl, assistant professor of Business Administration. The maximum amounts that a taxpayer can claim for 2011 are: $1,168 for the Homestead Credit, $2,500 for the American Opportunity Credit, and $5,751 for the federal earned income credit (for a taxpayer with three qualifying children). The earned income credit and the Homestead Credit are fully refundable, while up to 40 percent, or $1,000, of the American Opportunity Credit is refundable. With a refundable credit, the taxpayer uses the credit to first reduce the tax owed and then receives the excess as a refund. So, if the taxpayer has no tax liability, he or she receives the full amount of the credit in the form of a refund.

For more information, e-mail loeblj@uwgb.edu or visit the VITA website at: www.uwgb.edu/vita.


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