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BW’s free IRS VITA Tax Clinic will go on with new pandemic safety protocols

Baldwin Wallace University is stepping up again as tax season rolls back around, but the coronavirus pandemic will dictate some changes to the annual BW Tax Clinic.

EITC logoThe BW School of Business will again partner with the Cuyahoga EITC Coalition to offer a designated IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site with free tax preparation services for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. (In general, that means less than $57,000 in gross income.)

New drop-off, pickup appointments

The clinic, which moved away from a drop-in model in recent years, will again require appointments in 2021 and - new this year - will mandate that taxpayers drop off all required documents and return to pick them up once completed, rather than waiting on site during preparation.

BW School of Business free tax clinic"For the health and safety of everyone involved, our clients will not be able to sit across from their tax preparer as they complete their tax return this year," explains Lynn Schulte, associate professor of business and BW Tax Clinic faculty advisor.

"A greeter will meet taxpayers at their scheduled appointment time to verify that all required documents are received," she continues. "Before a client departs, we will verify a phone number and schedule a pickup appointment for the following week."

As noted in coverage on the clinic by WEWS Newschannel 5, visitors should also note that masks are required in the Kamm Hall drop-off location at all times.

Real-world student experience, outreach

Under the supervision of faculty, the BW Tax Clinic allows trained students to gain real-world experience while providing a valuable service to the community.

The clinic has helped hundreds of taxpayers complete their annual tax returns at no cost for more than 25 years and has served as a VITA site since 2013. The clinic is also authorized to e-file returns.

2021 BW Tax Clinic dates and details

For 2021, drop-off for tax preparation will take place on six Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on February 14, 21 and 28, and March 7, 14 and 21.

Prospective clients are required to make a drop-off appointment by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts or by visiting refundohio.org. Appointments are NOT available by calling BW.

Taxpayers should also take note that returns are NOT prepared without all appropriate documentation for income and related expenses, and not all tax returns are within the VITA scope of service.

Detailed instructions on scheduling and what documents to bring are available at bw.edu/centers/tax-clinic.

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