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Release: March 18, 1999

UI accounting students offer free income tax help

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Members of the University of Iowa Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity are offering free income tax help to low-income families and individuals though April 15 at the Iowa City and Coralville public libraries.

The service is being offered through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program of the Internal Revenue Service at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn St. Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. through April 15.

The student volunteers will also be at the Coralville Public Library, 1401 Fifth Street, in Coralville Wednesdays, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. through April 14. A special "Filing Deadline" VITA session is set for Thursday, April 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Iowa City Library.

Approximately 60 UI accounting students, who have completed both an introductory tax course in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business and IRS training, will provide free tax assistance to low income families and individuals, non-English speaking or non-U.S. residents, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and others with special needs.

Individuals with gross income under $15,000 or married couples with a combined gross income less than $20,000 qualify for the service, but those who are self-employed, have farm income, sold securities, or IRAs do not qualify for the service. The volunteers can help only with Iowa and federal forms, and not out-of-state returns.

Taxpayers should bring last year's return, this year's tax package, and any pertinent interest wage withholding statements, such as 1099s or W2s.

Amy An, UI accounting instructor and Beta Alpha Psi advisor, says the VITA program provides students practical tax preparation experience outside the classroom.

"This is a community service program that is part of the students' professional development in the accounting field. We hope they continue their volunteer efforts throughout their careers," An said.

For more information, contact Beta Alpha Psi's VITA coordinator Ryan Hargraves at (319) 466-9510. Questions can also be directed to the information desk at the Iowa City Public Library, (319) 356-5200 or the Coralville Public Library at (319) 351-2163.