Assoc. News Editor
Looking to cut costs this tax season? Well, look no further: MU’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Management (ELCM) is hosting a VITA tax preparation site on campus for the second consecutive semester in Stayer Hall on Saturdays during the months of February, March and April.
United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will offer free tax preparation services to any qualifying family or individual student. The VITA program offers free tax assistance at 14 different sites across Lancaster County to anyone whose total household income is less than $50,000 and is unable to afford tax preparation services on their own. VITA has partnered with MU over the past few years to make Millersville a site for this program.
This year, six MU-affiliated volunteers will offer their services as well. These include Millersville budget analyst Amanda Flurry, accounting alum Mike Urbanik ’04, grad student in social work Ashley Ruhl, economics alum Jerry Spangler ’11, junior accounting major Rangsey Viset and senior economics major Ryan Shultz.
“As a social worker, I’m always looking for small ways to help. I was also really interested in learning this new skill,” said Ruhl, who is currently an intern at United Way. “I set out to help these families receive the highest refund they are eligible for because I know what it is like to struggle financially.”
Melissa Wardwell, interim director at ELCM, said, “VITA helps put hard-earned money back in the pockets of low-to-moderate income wage-earners in the form of tax refunds and tax credit. Helping clients save an average of $200 in tax preparation fees can make a tremendous impact in their daily life.”
Viset also said, “I am happy to help people who cannot do their own tax return. The program provides the training without any cost. The only requirement is that you are willing to learn those materials.”
Students who are interested in using these tax-prep services or in getting more information should schedule an appointment with United Way by calling them at (717)-291-5462 or visiting their website at www.uwlanc.org/PriorityAreas/FinancialStability/VITA.aspx.
Students must bring the following documents to their scheduled appointment:
• Social Security card
• Photo identification
• Wage and earning statements (W-2)
• Student loan and college tuition statements
• Dividend statements from bank
• Mortgage interest statements and paid property tax receipts
• Unemployment and Social Security forms
• Property tax rent rebate (optional)
• Child care expenses (provider’s name, address, tax ID number or Social Security number
• Copy of last year’s tax return
• Proof of bank account (routing number, bank account number–essentially a blank check needed for direct deposit only)
If a student is considering using these free tax services they should set up an appointment as soon as possible: the available slots are filling up quick. Make it a priority.