In an effort towards community involvement, Transylvania University spent February helping the community of Lexington with tax assistance and preparation through The Free Income Tax Assistance Service (VITA).
This program has helped local individuals who make less than $52,000 per year, and also welcomes faculty and students of Transy. It took place every Wednesday night throughout the month of February from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Cowgill Center for Business, Economics and Education off Third Street.
The program is currently supervised by Christi Hayne, an alumna of Transy, and Dr. Judy Jones, an accounting professor at Transy. Hayne has been a part of the program for six years, while Dr. Jones has been with the program since its beginning.
Transy has offered this program to the Lexington community since 1981. VITA was created due to the advantageous location of Transy in relation to the surrounding community. It allowed a way to provide a service to the surrounding community who needed it. The program also wanted to give students interested in business and accounting valuable experience working directly with a client, because internships were rarely completed by students before the program began.
According to Christi Hayne, “The reasons for maintaining it, I would say, are largely the same. Our immediate community surrounding us has changed some, but the community at large still has a need. There are people that have been coming to us for 15+ years.”
Those who use this service meet with a pair of current upperclassmen accounting or business students who have completed an income tax preparation training program. These students aid taxpayers by preparing their income tax forms and figuring out factors such as filing status or claims for dependency. Each student that takes part in the program is present on a volunteer basis while earning partial school credit for their efforts.
In order to take part in this free service, you just need to bring all of the necessary information including W2s, 1099s (interest income statements), state and federal tax returns from last year, the IRS forms you received in the mail, photo IDs, and social security cards. (You must provide documentation, including IDs, for dependents.) All forms are filed electronically.