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Tax-Assistance Partnership to Resume Free By-Appointment Service

Renewing the partnership between Pennsylvania College of Technology and The Salvation Army are, from left, Salvation Army Maj. Marie Harris, community relations officer and program development officer%3B tax preparers Lynette Trick, Salvation Army budget coach, and Derek Botts, a 2009 graduate of Penn College%E2%80%99s business administration%3A banking and finance concentration%3B Pam Hicks, Salvation Army social service director%3B and Phillip D. Landers, professor of business administration and accounting.The seventh annual “Money in Your Pocket” campaign, through which Pennsylvania College of Technology students collaborate with the Internal Revenue Service and Salvation Army volunteers to help hundreds of area residents prepare and file their returns, will begin Feb. 1.

The IRS’ free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will be offered in Room 102 of Penn College’s Madigan Library from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, through April 8. Assistance also will be available at The Salvation Army’s 457 Market St. location in downtown Williamsport and at the Muncy Public Library, 108 S. Main St.

“This year, due to the economy, the need for the VITA program is even more critical to help the low-income residents of our community get their refund and Earned Income Tax Credit without the extra burden of paying for a preparer or to e-file,” said Maj. Marie Harris, community relations and program development officer, who, along with Pam Hicks, social service director, oversees The Salvation Army’s role in the partnership.

Scores of employed, lower-income local residents could be missing out on thousands of dollars in refunds, Harris said, because they are unaware of their eligibility for valuable tax credits.

Volunteer preparers comprising accounting, finance and legal assistant students at Penn College all are trained and certified by the IRS. The college’s VITA site is coordinated by Phillip D. Landers, professor of business administration and accounting in the School of Business and Computer Technologies, who also supervises a two-day satellite office at the college’s North Campus near Wellsboro.

Phillip D. Landers, Penn College professor and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance coordinator, talks about the program's enduring benefit to lower-income local residents.Appointments at all three Lycoming County locations can be obtained by calling The Salvation Army at 570-326-9187. The North Campus service will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, and from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, March 26; Northern Tier residents should call 570-724-7703 to arrange appointments. Campus taxpayer services are unavailable when Penn College is closed or when students are on Spring Break (March 7-14).

The service was announced at the Madigan Library on Friday as part of a national effort to publicize EITC guidelines, the availability of free tax-return preparation services and the convenience of electronic filing at more than 12,000 VITA sites across the country. Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff C. Wheeland and Marilyn G. Bodnar, a Penn College librarian, joined in the kickoff of this year’s event.

Penn College students completed more than 390 federal and 370 state returns during the 2008 season, additionally helping taxpayers with more than 250 local returns and a significant number of other filings.

The VITA program is designed for taxpayers who have uncomplicated returns and less than $50,000 in income and who do not own businesses or have stock sales to report, and are not in an intricate retirement situation. Special emphasis is placed on the EITC, as well as on Child Tax and Child and Dependent Care credits and property tax/rent rebates.

Taxpayers should bring proof of identification, Social Security Numbers, spousal and dependents’ birth dates, bank-routing information for direct deposit of refunds, important tax documents such as W-2 and 1099 forms, real-estate tax receipts, and unemployment compensation data.

For more about majors within the college’s School of Business and Computer Technologies including accounting, legal assistant/paralegal and business administration visitonline or call 570-327-4517.

For general information about Penn College, visit on the Web, e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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