If being taxed is one of life's only certainties, receiving free tax preparation assistance from Niagara University isn't far behind.
For a 34th year, students from NU's College of Business Administration will help members of the Niagara Falls community file state and federal income taxes this spring.
In 2014, 82 student volunteers helped local residents file 480 tax returns, totaling more than $640,000 in federal and state refunds.
New this year will be the acceptance of appointments as well as a pair of sessions at the Heart, Love and Soul food pantry and dining room.
"As a Vincentian institution, the VITA program embodies what we're attempting to do in terms of service learning," said Dr. Ian Burt, a certified public accountant who will be coordinating the university's VITA program for a second year. "To be able to offer this service to the underserved members of this community is a way for the university to give back. At the same time, our students are learning skills that will be necessary for them to pursue employment after graduation."
Sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service, the program, called volunteer income tax assistance, or vita, is entering its 34th year at Niagara. Under the program, NU students prepare and electronically file federal and state tax returns free of charge for elderly and low-income taxpayers in the community. The program is coordinated by members of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor society for accounting, and the college's Accounting Society.
•Beginning Feb. 10, assistance will be provided from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. at Niagara University (St. Vincent's Hall, Room 205) on the following dates:
•In addition, sessions will also be held at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building (3001 9th St., Niagara Falls) from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Feb. 28 and March 21.
•Finally, guests of Heart, Love and Soul can receive assistance during lunch service (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) Feb. 20 and 27.
Appointments are accepted, but not necessary to participate in this free service. Participants are asked to bring photo identification and a social security card.
Niagara University's VITA program has garnered national accolades from Beta Alpha Psi, an organization with more than 300,000 members in 300 chapters on college and university campuses around the world.
For more information, call 716-286-7328 or visit www.niagara.edu/vita. To make an appointment, call 211 or 1-888-696-9211.