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March 18, 2010 Volume 31, No. 24

Tax aid is available

Finding help

Online tool lowers the barrier between people and information

With the deadline for filing federal income tax returns rapidly approaching, many people nationwide are searching for help with filing their taxes. Tax experts at University of Missouri Extension have created a new Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) online search tool that allows those in need of tax assistance to find it anywhere in the country.

The new search tool is the only comprehensive nationwide VITA search source on the Internet. Andrew Zumwalt, an associate state specialist for financial planning and an Extension faculty member in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, says this search tool will make tax assistance more readily available for everyone.

“It will lower the barrier between people and information,” Zumwalt says. Zumwalt believes this new Web site will allow VITA sites to become a little more accessible. “Currently, calling the IRS involves a long wait, especially during busy tax season,” Zumwalt said. “Our search site has provided a simpler way to present the information. Not only is it more simple; it is much quicker as well.”

Zumwalt has been instrumental in founding and growing the Missouri Taxpayer Education Initiative. MoTax sites have prepared more than 20,000 returns during the past six years. To view the MU Extension search tool, visit