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For the sixth straight year, Lakeland College will help collect tax refunds for some area residents who need it the most.
Lakeland provides free tax preparation and electronic filing for low income tax filers until April 15. This service is available through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which is designed to help low- to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.
Students in Lakeland's accounting program will be available at the Sheboygan Salvation Army, 710 Pennsylvania Ave. The students work under the supervision of members of Lakeland's business faculty. Students from Lakeshore Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan will also be volunteering.
The program is sponsored by Schenck Business Solutions.
The free service is now open on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Some dates are excluded due to school breaks. No appointment is necessary, although advance reservations can be made by calling 565-1543.
Last year, Lakeland and LTC students prepared and filed 770 returns that helped taxpayers collect over $1 million in refunds, with an average total refund of $1,599. In its first five years, Lakeland's program has collected over $3.5 million in tax refunds for low income earners in the area.
People interested in taking advantage of this free service must have income under $49,000 a year. Applicants must bring a photo ID; social security cards for themselves, their spouse and dependents; W-2 forms; 1099 forms; rent certificate or 2007 property tax bill; and a copy of their 2007 tax return.
Assistance will be given in preparing several forms including, Wisconsin Form 1 and 1A, Federal 1040 and 1040A, Schedule R (credit for the elderly and disabled) and Wisconsin Homestead Credit. Returns cannot be done for those taxpayers having income from outside Wisconsin sources, those having complex tax returns, and those who are non-US residents.
Representatives from M&I Bank will be on hand for anyone wishing to set up an account for direct deposit of their tax refund.
Lakeland students will also prepare online FAFSA student financial aid forms on site, and information will be available for those seeking financial literacy assistance.
For additional information about this program, please contact Rick Gaumer in the Lakeland business division at 565-1351.