Taking on taxes

Jennie Torres

Several faculty and students plan on helping both the Hamden and campus community for the upcoming tax season through the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. Next week, the program will be held in two locations: The Keefe Community Center and on campus; however, there is limited time to participate in it.

Darcie Costello, the assistant director of accounting and co-advisor of the program said it is beneficial to know about handling taxes, and this program will step in as the guide in doing so for mainly low and middle-income taxpayers.

Several students are unsure of what taxes are or how they work, including senior Rachael Steinhauer. She believes the VITA program would be an excellent source of help for the students and may receive a great crowd at their sessions.

“It’s important to know [taxes] when you get into the real world and I don’t think there are many places that teach anything about them,” Steinhauer said.

Costello said the Keefe Community Center is located on Dixwell Avenue by Hamden High School and is the main location for the program. The sessions will begin next Thursday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m. and will run until 8 p.m. Those interested can attend to have their tax returns done for free for those who meet the requirements.

“In order to have your tax return done for free, you have to meet certain requirements for this year,” Costello said. “Your gross income has to be less than $53,267 in order to be under the umbrella of the VITA program.”

At the Keefe Community Center, the program will run until April 14. But on campus, there will only be four sessions held throughout February. The sessions at Quinnipiac will be held on Monday, Feb. 8, Monday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 18, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The program will also be in ABL 218 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 and Wednesday, Feb. 17.

This program is sponsored by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). In addition, they have also partnered with the United Way of Greater New Haven, which has a number of other partners that are apart of the coalition. The VITA program is administered by the Nu Alpha Chapter (QU’s chapter) of Beta Alpha Psi (The International Honor Organization for Financial Information Students and Professionals).

For the campus sessions, there will always be a faculty member and several students who will tend to any questions or assistance throughout the process. The students in particular study accounting and are trained and qualified to service people in this area.

Costello considers the VITA program to be a joint program for both the Quinnipiac and the Hamden community.

“What we do in the Keefe Center is mostly focused on the people of Hamden and then the four sessions on campus are mainly focused on the students. We’re trying to reach both populations,” she said.

For anyone who wishes to attend the VITA program, participants should bring a photo ID, their social security card – or a copy of their social security card – and documents that they’ve previously received such as tuition statements or tax documents.