Feb 11, 2020 2:58 PM

VITA program continues in Hutchinson for 2019 taxes

Posted Feb 11, 2020 2:58 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is being offered again this year in Hutchinson.

"I think a lot of people could do it themselves," said Sue Wegerle with the VITA program. "They just feel better knowing that somebody who has been certified and trained is doing their taxes for them."

All VITA preparers in Hutchinson have the same training.

"I require all of my tax preparers to be trained to the advanced levels," Wegerle said. "Almost all of them are trained for Health Savings Accounts, which is another aspect of someone's work, that they belong to a Health Savings Account at their work."

VITA income guidelines are fairly generous this year. 

"Our upper limit is based on the Earned Income Credit and it did go up a little bit this year," Wegerle said. "The Child Tax Credit increased to $2000 per child. A portion of that is refundable, not all of that is refundable, but that goes directly against any taxes you would owe."

The VITA tax site is located at the Salvation Army, 700 N. Walnut.

IRS certified volunteers will prepare taxes free of charge for persons whose combined household income does not exceed $56,000. Hours are Tuesdays 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday Feb. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The services are provided by the Volunteer Center of Reno County.

You can also do your own taxes online any time. It's free for anyone who files a simple return at www.MyFreeTaxes.com.

In 2019, VITA volunteers helped prepare more than 1,400 tax returns in the Hutchinson area.

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Feb 11, 2020 2:58 PM
Farmer to pay over $600,000 back in fraud case

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas farmer was sentenced on Monday to 30 months for federal crop insurance fraud and bankruptcy fraud, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $604,303 in restitution.

Kevin W. Struss, 63, Wakeeney, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of defrauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop insurance program, which provides government insurance against unavoidable crop losses. He made false statements in which he under-reported his total 2015 corn crop by approximately 23,524 bushels, and his total sorghum/milo crop by 31,208 bushels.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud. He falsely answered “no” to a question in his bankruptcy filing about whether he had transferred property to anyone else recently. In fact he made two transfers of $150,000 and $320,000 to another person in 2018.

McAllister commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger for their work on the case.