ETSU offering free tax preparation help

Published 10:29 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY — A group of East Tennessee State University business student volunteers, under the guidance of accountancy faculty member Dr. Michelle Freeman, will offer free tax preparation assistance again this year through the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

ETSU is an approved VITA location, and with financial support from Eastman Credit Union, student volunteers will assist taxpayers whose total household income was $60,000 or less during tax year 2022. Tax preparation services will be offered on the following Saturdays: Feb. 18, Feb. 25, and March 4 from 8:15 a.m.-5 p.m. at Sam Wilson Hall, room 130, on ETSU’s main campus.

Taxpayers must have an appointment, and no walk-ins will be accepted. Those with an appointment should arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in and fill out a questionnaire. 

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Those who wish to have their tax return prepared at ETSU must have the following items in order to complete the tax return:
* Proof of identification, such as a state or federal government issued picture ID;
* Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and any dependents on the tax return;
* Individual Taxpayer Identification Number assignment letter for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents if there is no Social Security number;
* Birth dates for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents on the tax return;
* 2021 Income Tax Return (last year’s)
* Wage and earning statement(s) from all employers, including any W-2, W-2G 1099-R or 1099-Misc. forms;
* Information regarding other income sources, if applicable;
* Information for all deductions/credits, if applicable;
* A record of any cash donations made during the year to churches or charitable organizations; 
* Any tax documents needed to prepare the tax return, such as a 1099-G unemployment, 1095-A (marketplace insurance, if applicable) or tuition statements;
* Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099);
* Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements, if applicable;
* Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit, such as a blank check;
* Total amounts paid to day care provider(s) and the day care provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s Social Security Number or business Employer Identification Number), if appropriate; and
* Copies of 1099-T for tuition and fees paid by the taxpayer, spouse and any dependents if applicable.
To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
Some of the more complex tax items are outside the scope of the ETSU VITA program. If a tax return includes any of the following items, ETSU VITA will not be able prepare the tax return:
* Taxpayers who cannot substantiate their identity with a method mentioned above;
* Household income greater than $60,000;
* Rental income;
* Cryptocurrency; and
* Cancellation of debt.
This list is not comprehensive, and other tax items may fall beyond the scope of the program.
Participants are required to remain on site as the return is completed. While every effort is made to complete the return quickly, organizers said, the average wait to have a return completed is an hour.
Sam Wilson Hall is located at 200 Ross Drive. To make an appointment, contact Valerie Swartz at (423) 439-4432 or For other questions, contact Freeman at  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.