By Charlie Jo DeMay
The Monmouth College Vita program has discovered new and improved ways to provide the community with its important service. Continuing its twelve-year tradition, the program is again giving free low-income tax service to Monmouth residents. This year, however, there will be the added attraction of a Spanish-speaking interpreter to assist Hispanics in tax preparation.
John White, the intercultural outreach coordinator with the University of Illinois Extension contacted VITA program coordinator, Judy Peterson, and offered to assist with free translation. VITA will also be having another important addition to the program. At each location there will be a member of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to assist families with FAFSA preparation. “Income taxes are a huge part of filing for FAFSA, so we are excited to have them here to help out,” said Peterson.
The first session starts February 2nd and will kick off the tax preparation at three different locations: the Warren County Public Library; the Galesburg Public Library; and at Monmouth College in the lower level Wallace Hall. The Spanish interpreter will be available at the public library location.
Judy Peterson and co-coordinator Patrick Montgomery have continued make VITA prosper for the students participating in the program as well as the patrons they serve.
Student program coordinator Kylie Near has been involved in the VITA program for two years now. “I did VITA for the first time last year and really had a blast doing it,” Near said. “Not only did I get 2 credit hours that I could use towards graduation, but also I can use my experience to put on my resume. I learned how to interact with the public and how to accomplish filing low-income taxes.”
Local resident Sandra Simpson has been utilizing the free tax service since it started. “I can’t afford to hire a private accountant to file all my taxes, so when I first found out about this program I was thrilled,” Simpson said. For more information about where you can get VITA tax preparation service go to the Monmouth College website at www.monmouthcollege.edu