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Liberty Law students continue tradition of serving the public through tax assistance program

Ali Davis Roussello assists a community member at the first night of the VITA program.

Liberty University School of Law students gathered Tuesday night at the Liberty Mountain Conference Center in the Candlers Station Shopping Center to provide a valuable service to community members — preparing their tax returns for free.

“Just completing your taxes can be stressful, but then when you add to that having to pay for someone else to prepare them, that can certainly contribute to that already present stress,” said Professor of Law Rodney Chrisman, who oversees the program. “Liberty Law gives back to the community each year through eliminating that cost as well as giving the public someone to help you with the process.”

Liberty Law students have participated in this service, called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, since 2009.

“It shows the law school’s commitment to the community. It is such a blessing to me that through all these years our students are still willing to come out and bless these people,” Chrisman said.

Second year law students Ryan Lawson (right) and Sean Pico.

To the students, it is an act of community service that flows not only from the skills they’ve acquired in law school, but also from their Christian commitment to help others.

“The Lord has not been shy in giving Liberty’s law students talents,” said Kenneth Rousselo, a third-year law student. “But we also know from Scripture that to whom much is given, much will be required. It is our joy to serve the Lord.” This is his third year to volunteer.

The sessions run through March 5 (closed Sundays), with weeks 1 & 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30–9 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; and week 3 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 5:30–9 p.m.

Masks will be required for all while inside the building. No appointments are necessary.

Below are the items that the general public are required to bring with them:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse, and dependents
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse, and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc) from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Form 1099)
  • If available, a copy of last year’s federal and state returns
  • Proof of bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit, such as a blank check
  • If applicable, the total amount paid for a daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number, such as a Social Security Number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B, and C,
  • Health Coverage Statements
  • If applicable, copies of income transcripts from the IRS and the state