For the 37th year, Western New Mexico University students are offering tax help to seniors and low-income families in the southwest corner of the state. This free service, called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and supported by Tax Help NM, is for people whose household income is $56,000 or less and for those who are 65 years or older.
The Tax Help NM volunteers — WNMU business and accounting students by day — are certified by the IRS and are trained to help taxpayers identify tax credits.
“The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program offers our students a chance to participate in the community and also gives them real-life tax preparation filing experience,” said Ashley Montenegro, the adjunct WNMU instructor and certified public accountant who sponsors this program. “Students can walk out of here with their degrees saying that they’ve done 50 to 100 tax returns already. The community benefits because they don’t have to pay for this service as long as they meet the requirements.”
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program at WNMU will start Monday, Feb. 11., and close April 4, 2019. The service center will be closed for spring break March 11 – 15.
For help filing their taxes, people may come to Light Hall on the WNMU campus (1000 W. College Ave.) on Mondays through Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Service is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Each individual must bring an original Social Security Card, a picture ID, W-2s or 1099s from all employers and a bank account with routing number for direct deposit, which is optional.
Local certified public accountant Linda McGee initiated the program at WNMU in 1982. Today, WNMU students donate an average of 300 hours during the few weeks the service is offered annually. Over the last three recorded years, the student volunteers served 1,200 people, filing 2,423 returns and bringing $1.3 million back to the community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program at WNMU.
More information about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program provided by the School of Business at WNMU is available at sb.wnmu.edu/tax.