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VITA seeks volunteers for tax assistants

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is looking for student volunteers for their 2019 tax preparation sites at the Neighborhood Resource Center and the Catholic Charities in Beaumont. The VITA program helps students file their returns.

“We are looking for a variety of volunteers to help us prepare taxes for those who need assistance,” Jon Korejwa, Lamar VITA director of training and operations, said. “One of the positions we need filled are screeners, who determine what type of assistance the taxpayer needs and confirm the necessary documents to complete their tax returns. Tax law certification is not required to fulfill this position.”

Along with needing screeners, VITA also needs greeters who will create a comfortable environment for visitors, Korejwa said.

“We need tax preparers who will need to be certified in tax law training,” he said. “They also need to be able to use the necessary software to do the taxes. We also could use some IT support as well to help things run smoothly.”

Korejwa said that there is no deadline to sign up to be a VITA volunteer, however, certification for tax season has to be completed before February.

“People can sign up as a volunteer overall, then I can contact them,” he said. “We need all the help we can get.”

VITA is sanctioned by the InternalRevenue Service and has been in existence for more than 40 years.

“This will be our 10th year of operation in Beaumont,” Korejwa said.“It is a free-of-cost program that provides free tax filing services to residents and non-residents with income under $54,000.”

In 2018, VITA prepared 540 returns system-wide, including 65 foreign student returns.

“We help students with their form 8843 to maintain their exempt status and be able to file the form 1040-NR (non-resident),” Korejwa said. “The 8843-form return will be prepared with the student and reviewed by another VITA person, electronically filed with the IRS — then the form is mailed and refunds can be expected in eight to 10 days if direct deposit is available.”

Korejwa emphasized that the service is available for all Lamar students.

“I encourage any student to join the VITA program, as it could be a résumé builder — since volunteering for VITA, several students have gotten jobs because they listed VITA on their résumés,” he said. “Working as a VITA volunteer strengthens interpersonal skills, financial methods, tax law and software training that are transferable into many employment opportunities. In addition, students can help the program in community awareness, which is getting in front of organizations such as city council which would be a good role for a political science major.”

The Neighborhood Resource Center, located at 2850 Gulf Street in Beaumont, will open Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. and will remain open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Catholic Charities, located at 2780 Eastex Freeway, will open Feb. 4 at 5 p.m. and will remain open on Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

To volunteer for VITA, call 409-840-6900, or email

Story by Cade Smith, UP staff writer

Category: News