/Accounting students offer free tax prep for members of community

Accounting students offer free tax prep for members of community

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Cassie Gibbs
Staff Writer

Troy University is partnering with the IRS and the Alabama Pike County Extension Office to help provide free tax preparation for members of the community through a national program known as Volunteer Income Tax Assistants.
Created about 35 years ago, VITA offers free income tax preparation to those with lower-to-moderate incomes starting around $52,000 per year and senior citizens as well.
This is VITA’s second year in Troy.
Dena Mitchell, an Assistant Professor in the accounting department of Sorrell College of Business, says that this program is extremely beneficial to the accounting students who volunteer.
“I was a VITA volunteer when I was an accounting student,” Mitchell said. “It was extremely valuable to me and I wanted the students here to have the same experience.”
Students who volunteer with VITA gain work experience to add to their resume, hands-on experience with preparing tax returns and using the tax return software and community service through the volunteer part of the program.
Accounting students typically have taken or are taking tax I: individual income tax to prepare for this program, though anyone can volunteer for this program.
They are required to pass a VITA certification course and test to be qualified to prepare tax returns.
Either Mitchell or the site coordinator reviews every return after each session is over in order to prevent error.
If demand requires, these hours may be revised for a later time or weekends may become available for sessions.
Tax preparation sessions will be available until April 15.
If anyone wishes to take advantage of these tax preparation sessions, they need bring a W-2 form (for those who have earned wages throughout the year), any interest statement received from their bank, and the 1098-T form if they are a student.
This form is a record of the student’s tuition cost, shows any scholarships or loans given to the student, and can be found on Trojan Web Express.
“I really encourage people to use this service. We’ve talked to a lot of taxpayers who have paid a lot of money to have simple returns prepared. If you can get it done for free, why not take advantage of it?” Mitchell said.
The tax preparation sessions are located at the Alabama Extension Office, located at 306 South Three Notch Street.
The hours of these sessions are Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
If you would like to volunteer for VITA, please contact Dena Mitchell.
She can be reached at 334-670-5764 or dsmitchell@troy.edu.