Ohio Dominican University Offers Free Bilingual Tax Return Preparation Assistance through VITA Program

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2013-01-11

Columbus, OH (43219) – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) offers the only fully bilingual tax return preparation service in Central Ohio. Accounting students at ODU will provide free income tax return preparation assistance for qualified individuals through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA offers free tax help to people with low-to-moderate income (generally $50,000 and below). Through this program, ODU accounting students offer assistance with special credits, including earned income tax credit, child tax credit and credit for the elderly. 

“There is a need for a bilingual service in the community,” said Bob Osborne, ODU Assistant Professor of Accounting and VITA program advisor. “Having recognized this need, we’ve partnered with faculty and students in ODU’s Spanish program to offer this service to our clients.” 

The VITA program is offered at ODU’s main campus, 1216 Sunbury Road, in Erskine Hall, rooms 201, 202 and 205. 

“The program is an opportunity for our students to practice what we teach them in the classroom, while learning to be a good citizen and give back to the community,” said Osborne. 

The program opens Wednesday, Feb. 20. The schedule for this season is as follows: 

  • Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Feb. 20, 27, March 13, 20, 27, April 3 and 10. Closed March 6 for Spring Break.) 
  • Saturdays from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Feb. 23, March 9, 16, 23, April 6 and 13. Closed March 2 for Spring Break and March 30 for Easter.) 
  • VITA site closes April 13. 

The program also is unique in that students from Bishop Watterson High School will participate. Those students will receive one college credit hour and accrue service learning hours. 

Since first offering the VITA program in 2007, ODU faculty and students have helped prepare 1,416 tax returns. In spring 2012, 328 tax returns were prepared, saving clients approximately $82,000 in tax preparation fees. More than $224,000 in returns were processed in 2012.  

The Internal Revenue Service certifies as tax preparers the participating accounting students, usually juniors or seniors. Under the supervision of faculty members who are certified public accountants, students prepare federal, state, local school and city income tax returns. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, the program offers free electronic filing (e-filing). 

To make an appointment with an ODU VITA tax preparer, call HandsOn Central Ohio at 211 in Franklin County or 614-221-6766, and ask to speak to the VITA scheduler. 

For additional information on the VITA program, please contact Bob Osborne at 614-251-4261 or osborneb@ohiodominican.edu, or Maggie Gilmore, Assistant Professor of Accounting, at 614-251-4382 or gilmorem@ohiodominican.edu. 

Ohio Dominican University is a four-year private comprehensive liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic and Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,700 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 42 majors as well as seven graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning. 

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