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Free tax prep program available at Clayton State

MORROW — Tax preparation assistance is available to the area’s lower-income residents.

Four weekend sessions — including a session this Saturday — remain in the annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program hosted by Clayton State University’s College of Business.

VITA is a 40-year-old program that provides free tax support to needy taxpayers nationwide.

Dr. Judith Ogden is an associate professor of business law at Clayton State. She is in her ninth year coordinating VITA and has 16 years total experience in the program.

Ogden said the university is the only one in Georgia to have successfully participated in VITA for 23 consecutive years.

“It gives our students hands-on experience and provides a valuable service to the public,” she said.

Ogden’s accounting students volunteer in VITA as IRS-trained tax preparers. They help file returns for eligible taxpayers who make under $49,000 a year.

She said student volunteers filed nearly 200 electronic and paper returns in 2012. Fourteen undergraduate students and two graduates are volunteering this year.

VITA session are held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. each Saturday. Future sessions are Feb. 23, Mar. 16 and Mar. 23.

Saturday’s session starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at Clayton Hall, 2000 Clayton State Blvd. Building 10. Taxpayers are asked to go to the main lobby where they will be assisted on a first come, first serve basis.

Taxpayers are reminded to bring a photo ID; social security cards for themselves, their spouses and their dependents; wage and earning statements; and a copy of last year’s federal and state income tax returns.

Ogden said both spouses must be present to file electronically.