Tax season is here, and the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café is open now through April 15th Located at 1300 Broad Street, next to the Trinity College campus and the Learning Corridor. This Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic is one of several in Hartford sponsored by the United Way. VITA offers free income tax preparation services to households generally with incomes of $55,000 or below, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak languages other than English. Make an appointment calling 2-1-1 or by going online to http://www.211ct.org. The Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, and Fridays from 10am to 5pm.
Political Science Professor Serena Laws coordinates the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic, which is staffed by students in her “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” course. “Students get very practical information about how to do taxes, and at the same time receive academic information about tax policy in the United States, so it’s a great combination of policy and real world experience,” explains Laws. In preparation for reopening the clinic, all students completed training to become IRS-certified tax preparers. Two Trinity students who participated in last year’s clinic have returned to take on more responsibilities this year. In addition, Linda Martinez, long-term Hartford resident and member of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) Advisory Board at Trinity, will serve as an additional site supervisor for the clinic to offer extended hours.
In 2020, the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic aims to double its goals from last year. During the 2019 pilot year, student tax preparers provided services in both English and Spanish at Trinfo.Café, where they served 161 clients with total refunds reaching $224,217, which saved them $43,953 in tax prep fees. The average annual income of families served was $18,304 and the average return for a Hartford family was $1,494, and for families with kids that number was $4,410. “Our goals this year are to double the number of hours the clinic is open, double the number of completed tax returns, and increase the number of first-time VITA clients at our site,” says Laws. The 2020 expansion of services by the tax clinic was funded by generous donations to Trinity College including from Robert F. McCammon Jr. ’61.
Featured photo by Nick Caito.