FMU students are helping the community prepare their tax returns for free through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program every Wednesday until April 10 from 5-9 p.m. in Founder’s Hall 259C.
Accounting students at FMU are preparing the tax returns for students and members of the surrounding community. Angela Buccilli, one of the students helping prepare the returns, said she and other students went through the same training that any other IRS volunteer would go through.
“It’s not as stressful as you would think,” Buccilli said. “You get to learn new situations that you’ve never been in. We’re only 21-years-old. We get to face dealing with Social Security and buying a home and how that affects our taxes.”
Anyone who wants to file their tax returns through this service needs to bring a picture ID, their Social Security number and any relevant IRS forms, such as the W-2 form that shows a person’s withheld income tax or the 1098-T form, a tuition statement. The program’s tax preparers can file federal and state taxes.
Brad Johnson, associate professor of accounting, coordinates the program. He said VITA is better than other free tax services because, with FMU’s VITA program, the tax returns go directly to the IRS rather than sitting at FMU. He said students participate for VITA as part of one of their accounting courses.
“The students are learning and growing,” Johnson said. “They may have been nervous after their first tax course, but now they’re having a good time and helping other people.”
Johnson said he was hired at FMU because of his experience with taxes. He said universities need tax professionals because every major university with accounting majors has a VITA program.
Buccilli said they have seen a good turnout of people asking for assistance. There are no income requirements for the program, and it is free to all residents of the U.S.
FMU has been a VITA location for 15 years. Taxes are due on April 15.