Daily News

STCC Offers Free Tax-filing Assistance to Springfield Community

SPRINGFIELD — Starting Tuesday, Jan. 27, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a free income-tax filing-assistance program for low-to-moderate income-tax payers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in partnership with Single Stop USA.

Single Stop is a national organization that works with community colleges to help connect students to state and federal financial resources and local community services. The aim is to help students overcome economic barriers, continue with their education, and move toward economic mobility.

The VITA program will assist STCC students and surrounding community residents with preparing and filing their tax returns. Volunteers from the community, including STCC students, are IRS-trained and certified to help filers prepare and submit their returns electronically. Volunteers are members of the Mass. Tax Assistance Coalition and can also prepare taxes for Connecticut and other surrounding states.

“Through VITA, filers will get their refund just as fast as they would if they went to a commercial tax-preparation company,” said Richard Keller, STCC’s VITA site coordinator. “It can often cost as much as $200 to $300 to have an outside company prepare a family’s taxes, but our program is free, so there’s significant savings.”

This is the second year STCC will offer the VITA program. According to Leona Ittleman, dean of the STCC School of Business and Information Technologies, the program served more than 100 filers last year, and she expects the number to increase this year. As a kickoff to the start of tax-preparation season, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. in the VITA office.

“One of the advantages of students having their taxes filed here is that we can screen them for additional financial resources and benefits through our Single Stop program,” said Roosevelt Charles, STCC’s director of access and student success. “They can also make appointments for assistance with their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.”

Those who would like to take advantage of the program can schedule appointments online at www.stcc.edu/cas/vita or by calling (413) 755-4215. Walk-ins are welcome, though appointments are preferred, especially during peak filing periods. The VITA office will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is located in Building 15, Room 105.