Char-Koosta News

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Volunteers help with income tax assistance

By Lailani Upham

PABLO — It’s that “stressed” or “blessed” time of year again – tax season is upon us.

However, fret no more and let the Salish Kootenai College business students assist those who seek tax service – for free.

For four years now, Salish Kootenai College have served as tax preparation site under the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for low to moderate-income families, according to SKC Business Department Director and VITA site coordinator, Tina Begay.

Last year 131 returns were processed through the student volunteer tax service.

There will be some changes to that will affect tax payers this year, and the SKC volunteer team will be up-to-date on the filing rules.

The income level for the free service is $52,000 or less.

SKC is a site under Rural Dynamic, Inc., of Great Falls, originally known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service. RDI provides programs and develops partnerships to help youth, individuals, and families reach economic independence.

Students complete the 15-week SKC business tax course to become certified, and prepare advanced tax returns. The tax II and I are offered in the fall and winter quarter that earn the students six credits in the Business Entrepreneurial Bachelor’s of Arts degree.

The service team will be able to file paper route or online with the option for a direct deposit refund for their clients, says Begay.

The site will be set up for privacy and will handle clients in a friendly-professional manner, assures Begay.

The VITA free tax prep will be held in February every Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the SKC Agnes Vanderburg Building.

No appointments are necessary.

Items to bring are:
   • Proof of identification
   • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
   • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
   • Current year’s tax package if you received one
   • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
   • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
   • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
   • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
   • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number
   • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

For more information, contact Tina Begay at (406) 275-4851, or email at

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