Free Tax Help For Students By Anna Duran

The only certainties in life are death and taxes, and the accounting department has found a way to make the latter less painful.


Tax returns are being prepared for free by IRS certified students. These students are trained to be knowledgeable of the codes necessary for the returns being filed, specifically for individuals or families earning less than $51,000 last year.


“The program will help me to get my tax degree and hopefully open my own tax clinic,” said Sherry Harrell, a tax and payroll accounting student, and one of the certified preparers.


The services are available to all those who qualify, not solely those enrolled at DMACC.


“Filing online by yourself could cost $70,” Cheri Hernandez, an accounting professor said. “We can electronically file federal and state taxes with direct deposit for free.”


This is the second year a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site has been available at the Ankeny campus. Last year, just under 200 returns were processed.


The IRS has various training materials for students to study and prepare for certification with an emphasis on knowledge necessary to help those low to median income people who would qualify.


“The program serves a dual purpose: to help the accounting students gain more experience and be able to help the community,” Hernandez said.


If students or individuals do not possess last year’s return, necessary to file at the VITA site, information can be obtained from the IRS with a phone call to 18008291040 ext2. VITA will provide a sheet with the questions needing to be answered.


“We tell people to keep past returns for three years, but I actually recommend keeping them for life because there is no statute of limitations on tax fraud,” Hernandez said.


Another benefit of the free filing is knowing certified professionals who understand the tax code are preparing the returns.


“We have to make sure we’ve satisfied all the laws and requirements,” Harrell said.


Filing began on Feb 1st and will continue through April 11th. Appointments are required. February appointments are filling up fast, but many remain open.

Appointments are available Tuesday through Friday, by calling 1-800-244-7431 and students or others can call (515)-965-6010 with any questions.


“There is definite interest. We would love to see anyone who qualifies financially and wants to e-file for free,” Harrell said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *