Tax assistance at Western

Jocelyn Robinson

As March rolls in, college basketball and spring break aren’t the only things on students’ minds.

With April 15 quickly approaching, many students are also thinking about their tax returns.

Tax return help is available for students, Western employees and community members through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

The VITA program was started by the Internal Revenue Service several years ago as a way to help low income people with their tax returns, said Charles Hays, an accounting and finance professor.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to come and get their tax returns done if they don’t want to deal with it or don’t know how,” he said.

For an hour on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, student volunteers from Hays’ advanced tax class sit down with anyone who needs help filing their tax returns.

“I thought it would be a good experience,” said Russellville senior Mary Beth Meyer, who wants to be a certified public accountant. Meyer volunteers once a week.

“Taxes are kind of an intimidating thing to do yourself if you’ve never done them before,” she said.

Those seeking assistance should bring identification, W-2 forms and other paperwork to the volunteers.

Nashville senior Scott Fox, another volunteer, said he and his colleagues type the information into the computer and print out a return for the person to sign and send.

“We provide the address and make sure they put the W-2 or 1098 with the form,” Fox said.

Hays said the program is available to almost anyone who needs it, although most of those who come in for help are Western students with part-time jobs.

The only people the volunteers can’t help are business owners and international students because their needs are more complicated, he said.

Hays advises the volunteers and is available if they have any questions about the returns.

Students who were helped said they were pleased with the services offered.

“It’s really nice that they do this,” Lexington senior Cicely Cottrell said. “It’s great to have resources like this on campus.”

Volunteers are available from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in Grise Hall room 529 until April 3.

Reach Jocelyn Robinson at [email protected]