Free tax preparation assistance to Springfield community begins Jan. 25 at STCC
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Starting Jan. 25, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will once again offer a free income tax filing assistance program for low-to-moderate income taxpayers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
The VITA program will assist STCC students and surrounding community residents with preparing and filing their tax returns. Volunteers from the community, including STCC students, are IRS-trained and certified to help filers prepare and submit their returns electronically. Volunteers are members of the Massachusetts Tax Assistance Coalition and can also prepare taxes for Connecticut and other surrounding states.
It can often cost as much as $200 to $300 to have an outside company prepare a family's taxes, but our program is free, so there's significant savings.Janet Cummings, STCC's VITA site coordinator
The service is available to people who make less than $55,000, including taxpayers who are disabled, limited English speaking and/or elderly.
“Through VITA, filers will get their refund just as fast as they would if they went to a commercial tax preparation company,” said Janet Cummings, STCC's VITA site coordinator. “It can often cost as much as $200 to $300 to have an outside company prepare a family's taxes, but our program is free, so there's significant savings.”
This is the fourth year STCC will offer the VITA program. According to Leona Ittleman, STCC dean of the school of business and information technologies, the program serviced over 135 returns during its first year and the number increased to over 775 returns last year. As a result, the program returned over $1,460,000 in refunds and savings to the surrounding community.
Because of relationships with various financial literacy initiatives, one of the advantages of filing taxes at STCC is that clients can be referred to additional state and federal resources as well as local community services. One of the program’s goals is to help students overcome economic barriers, continue with their education, and move towards economic mobility.
The VITA office will be open Wednesdays through Fridays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Due to the program’s popularity, its location has moved to a larger space with more computer stations and can be found in Scibelli Hall (Building 2), Room 414.
“It's a friendly atmosphere,” Cummings said. “It’s a place to go where people will understand what folks are going through. At VITA, there's no sales promotion, no pressure. We're just here to help them do their taxes.”
Those who would like to take advantage of the VITA program can learn more about it online or by calling (413) 755-4215 for an appointment. If accommodations for a disability are required to participate in this service, please let the office know when making an appointment. It may take up to two weeks to accommodate some requests.
About Springfield Technical Community College
Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, engineering, liberal arts, science and technology continue to provide the most economical options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of more than 8,500 day, evening, weekend and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.
For more information about STCC, visit www.stcc.edu. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@S_T_C_C).
Jim Danko, coordinator of media relations, (413) 755-4812, firstname.lastname@example.org
For an appointment or more information, call (413) 755-4215.