Your taxes-for free: Volunteers to help students file tax returns for no fee

Tax season is here, and one group on campus will spend hours filing returns for students for free.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program has usually helped 300 students annually with their returns, but expects to file 1,000 this year due to an increase in volunteers.

“It was originally designed for international students, but with the increase in volunteers, they have expanded to domestic students,” said Todd Clark, director of student services.

All volunteers are accounting or finance students who have completed VITA training and are Internal Revenue Service-certified.

“The program is certified by the IRS, so everything is totally legit,” Clark said. VITA members are doing this to gain experience and expect nothing in return from the students they assist, according to Clark.

Students can earn no more than $36,000 per year to be eligible for services.

The IRS has come out with a complete quality-control program this year to ensure that returns are done as accurately as possible. Volunteers cannot process a return without Social Security cards or ITINs, as well as all other applicable tax documents. A complete list of those documents can be found at www.utahbap.com/vita.

“It’s important to visit the Web site before you come to be sure you have everything. It’s a first-come, first-served basis, so if you don’t come with everything, you lose your place in line,” Clark said.

Many of the volunteers this year speak a foreign language.

“There are quite a few Spanish speakers, some Japanese, Korean, Russian and German,” Clark said. He added that those needing language assistance should contact VITA ahead of time to arrange for a translator.

Students interested in assistance can find VITA in the Business Classroom Building, Room 104 on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning on Feb. 10 and ending Apr. 8.

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