Tanasia Brigman

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Volunteers from the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program were on the Winthrop University campus every Thursday throughout the month of March to offer low-to-moderate income individuals and families free help preparing their tax returns.

Tax Day is usually April 15 of each year, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the deadline to May 17 this year, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Jayne Maas, an assistant professor of accounting at Winthrop, set up the weekly meetings, which were held in the main lobby of the DiGiorgio Campus Center, with IRS volunteers to help students and other community members file their taxes.

“Most people are not tax literate and so you don’t know what you might have missed,” Maas said.

“This year more than ever it is important to make sure that you know what the (tax) rules are, because a lot of things have changed,” Maas said. “VITA knows what the rules are, so you can be sure and confident that your return is being prepared correctly, even if you don’t know all the rules and that, I think, is super important.” 

Bill Perry, coordinator of the VITA Program in York County, said this year everything was prepared virtually.

“We have the individuals come in, we secure the information and then we take and have the returns filled out and then they come back the following week and we present the return to them, they review the return. Also, they sign the document and we electronically file it,” said Perry. “This is a worldwide program.”

Perry said the program can help taxpayers maximize their refunds, by pointing out tax credits they may qualify for, but don’t know about.