ISU accounting students offer free income tax return program starting Jan. 26

Jan 23rd, 2017 | By | Category: Pocatello News

 By Courtney Johnson

DOUG LINDLEY/IDAHO STATE JOURNAL Assistant Professor Dawn Konicek helps Katie Taryloe during the volunteer tax assistance class that prepares Idaho State University students to help people with their taxes.

DOUG LINDLEY/IDAHO STATE JOURNAL
Assistant Professor Dawn Konicek helps Katie Taryloe during the volunteer tax assistance class that prepares Idaho State
University students to help people with their taxes.

POCATELLO – For the past 14 years, Idaho State University’s Beta Alpha Psi accounting club has held a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. With tax season upon us, the VITA program will again be offered to students and community members alike at no cost.

“It helps the public out and it helps the students out, it’s really an excellent event,” said Dawn Konicek, ISU professor and Beta Alpha Psi faculty adviser.

Every Thursday, starting Jan. 26, students from the College of Business will volunteer their time to perform free tax returns for anyone in the community who qualify. Individuals who made less than $52,000 the previous tax year are qualified to participate. If you are unsure whether you qualify or not, program volunteers will be able to help you find out. They will do their best to help all who come through the doors.

No appointments are needed. Individuals who wish to have their income taxes done for free can simply go to room 213 in the Rendezvous building on the Idaho State University campus between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. every Thursday until March 13.

“This program is for people who cannot afford income tax services,” said Konicek. “It is very expensive to get your income tax return prepared.”

The majority of the student volunteers are accounting students that have taken an income tax class or they have taken a certification course through the software that is used. All volunteers have completed a course that has certified them by the IRS to complete income tax returns.

So if you are nervous about having college students do your tax returns, there is no need to worry. After 14 years, the VITA program has a solid foundation to ensuring correct and accurate tax returns for all of their participants.

“We are very accurate,” said Konicek. “96 percent of our returns are correct.”

Last year the program was able to complete more than 250 returns for the public. This year they have a goal of helping 300 individuals. Participants should bring a valid photo ID, social security cards, 2016 W2 forms, account and routing number for direct deposit and dividend and interest statements (Form 1099).

“It’s really a double edged sword,” said Jennifer Donaldson, president of the Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity. “The students learn how to interact with the public and community members get to have their tax returns done for free.”

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