It is that time of the year again: tax season. This may be the first time some students file taxes, which makes it a stressful time of year. But some of that stress might be alleviated with the help of some of enterprising EKU accounting students.
EKU’s accounting class is partnering with the Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Project and Kentucky River Foothills Community Action Agency to offer free tax preparation for those making $54,000 or less.
Twenty-eight students in Accounting 322 will offer free tax preparation with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service. This allows students to prepare federal and state tax returns for electronic or paper filing that will be reviewed by a reviewer before they are submitted.
Students in Accounting 322, “Tax I,” learn about Federal and State income tax legislation, returns for individuals, gross income, basis and determination of gain or loss, capital gains and losses, dividends, deductions and withholding. The class is taught by Dr. Trish Isaacs, associate professor in EKU’s Department of Accounting, Finance and Information.
Isaacs started the free tax preparation in Spring 2012. This will be the sixth year the program is offered. Last year, students completed around 65 tax returns.
“It is a valuable learning opportunity for the students and is valuable for the people that we are serving,” Isaacs said. “It is a win-win. There is no substitute for learning.”
Isaacs said she believes students learn much more sitting across from real people and looking at real tax returns than doing problems out of a textbook.
Participating accounting students are required to complete the IRS training and certification in order to help with tax returns, which is assigned at the beginning of the semester. The certification goes in more depth about topics from the textbook and compliments the course very well, Isaacs said.
The tax preparation service will be offered by EKU students on March 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 8 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., March 23 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and March 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Business and Technology Center, Room 269 in the Business Library and Academic Commons.
“It runs much better if folks make an appointment beforehand,” Isaacs said. “We get a lot of students and staff, as well as community members.”
Appointments are available every hour and a half and can be made through the United Way of the Bluegrass website, www.uwbg.org, or by calling Isaacs at (859) 622- 1590.
The hardest part for the accounting students is that even though most people do get refunds, some people will still have to pay. It is hard for a student to be the bearer of bad news.
“It is hard because we want everyone to get a refund,” Isaacs said.
Taxpayers should bring the following:
- Proof of Identification (Photo ID)
- Social Security cards for yourself, spouse and dependents (an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be used as substitute if you do not have a Social Security Number)
- Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
- Birthdates for yourself, spouses and dependents on the tax return
- Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc) from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements
- Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
- Proof of bank account and routing numbers for direct deposits
- Both spouses must be present to sign required forms in order to file taxes electronically on married-filing-joint tax return
- Total paid-for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as a Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number, if applicable
- Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements