Business Students Offer Help with Income Taxes
More than two dozen students from SUNY Oneonta’s School of Economics and Business are teaming up with the local United Way to offer free assistance with income tax returns to low-income area residents.
A total of 28 SUNY Oneonta student volunteers have become certified by the IRS to help families prepare simple tax forms through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Residents of Delaware and Otsego counties who earned less than $51,000 in 2013 may be eligible for this free service, which is offered through the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties CA$H (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) program.
The SUNY Oneonta students join a cadre of trained community volunteers who will help taxpayers fill out tax forms and determine whether they qualify for special credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Credit for the Elderly and education credits. From February through April, volunteers will offer help by appointment between 5 and 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturdays at the First United Methodist Church on Chestnut Street in Oneonta. Appointments can be made by calling (607) 432-0061.
“I am delighted to be working with SUNY Oneonta business and accounting students on this venture,” said Theresa Capuano, executive director of the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties. “The goal of the Ca$h Coalition is to leverage additional resources for the poor and working poor locally. The partnership with SUNY Oneonta is making that vision possible.”
The partnership came about after Karen Martino, outreach specialist for the New York State Tax Department, contacted SUNY Oneonta’s Center for Social Responsibility and Community (CSRC) to see if the college could provide assistance. Accounting major Lourdes Paulino, who has worked as a CSRC student coordinator for three years, jumped on the idea, and enlisted the help of Management, Marketing and Information Systems department lecturer William “Jeff” Weinell to recruit student volunteers.
“The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers a great opportunity for our students to combine their academic talents with their desire to give back to the community. I’m proud of their efforts and appreciative of Jeff Weinell’s leadership in partnering with the United Way to meet a community need,” said Dr. David Yen, dean of SUNY Oneonta’s School of Economics and Business.
The CA$H Coalition of Delaware and Otsego Counties is led by the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties in collaboration with Catholic Charities of Delaware and Otsego Counties, CDO Workforce, Fidelis Care, SEFCU, Delaware Opportunities, the New York State Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, New York State Tax & Finance and the Internal Revenue Service.