People needing free help to complete their federal tax forms have a resource at Housatonic Community College (HCC). IRS-certified volunteers are on hand, ready to provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing at the college’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service center.
Thirty-eight trained volunteers, some of which are HCC business students, offer free tax filing assistance through April 15. Anyone, regardless of age, can use the center and the general eligibility for VITA assistance is income last year that was less than $56,000.
“The average cost of tax preparation is $300, and we do it for free, said Andrew Geisert, HCC’s VITA site coordinator. “It’s a high-quality service, as good any anything you’d pay for.”
A kick-off event was held on Friday, February 7th at HCC with VITA community partners, including representatives from the IRS, Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS), HCC, the City of Bridgeport, City Community Development, Career Resources and the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County. Citibank is also a partner.
“As a community college, we’re addressing the needs of the community,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coley, Acting HCC President. “We welcome our neighbors to visit the campus, get valuable tax assistance and see the many resources that HCC offers, right in their own backyard.”
Last year, Fairfield County VITA volunteers prepared over 9,700 tax returns. Many filers qualified for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit –a tax refund that puts extra money in the pockets of lower-income working families and individuals, particularly those raising children.
To get VITA tax preparation assistance at HCC, an appointment is required. To make an appointment, call 211 or visit www.211ct.org. Site hours are 5pm -8pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9am – 12pm on Wednesday and Friday, and 10am – 1pm on Saturday. The VITA center is located on the HCC campus in Beacon Hall, room 319. HCC is located at 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport, CT.
Caption For Photo Above: Asher Albaz, Pamela Pirog, Ron Peruzzi, Marci Thompson, John Merz, Takima Robinson, Lily Lopez, Carolyn Vermont, Cathy DeCesare, Vernita Tertullien, and Jeff Kimball.