Students get ready for April tax-filing deadline

Amanda Monthei

With the IRS tax filing deadline looming on Monday, April 15, NMU students are searching for ways to file their taxes from the past year that is both easy on a student budget and compatible with a college schedule.

While some students either hire a professional or have their parents do their taxes for them, others are finding that the world of the IRS, tax forms and number crunching is a difficult thing to battle on your own.

“I’m from Illinois and so with my dad down there, it’s just hard to get paperwork transferred,” David Mancini, a senior biology major, said. “I’m probably just going to pick up the 1040 EZ or whatever the form is, I’ll have to figure that out. I’ll probably just follow the steps that it says, fill it out and hope that I do everything right.”

“Hope to do everything right” seems to be a common thought among other students who plan on doing their own taxes. Junior social work major Carrie Grishaber said after battling taxes on her own in previous years, she finally started looking around for other resources to use in the community. That’s how she stumbled upon the Beta Alpha Psi community tax help days.

“Making sense of the numbers on the page is the most difficult thing about it,” Grishaber said. “Some people find it really easy, but for me it’s just difficult to match everything up. It’s really a big help when other people do it for me, but I don’t have the money to pay someone to file them.

“I filed my taxes online before last year, and then they got kind of complicated. I took them down to the Peter White Library and the Beta Alpha Psi kids did it for me.”

Grishaber said the process was simple, free and quick, and that she trusted the students she worked with.

“I just sat down and handed them my stuff and they all seemed pretty excited,” she said. “Their professor was there and it only took about ten minutes. It was really fast.”

The program not only provides valuable experience for accounting, finance and computer information systems majors in the Beta Alpha Psi organization, but also provides a free resource for community members and students, according to member and coordinator Joey Strong.

“The program that we do, which is by the Students for Volunteer Tax Assistance, is sponsored through the IRS, and it basically provides tax assistance for low to middle income workers in the community,” Strong said. “So basically it helps people in the community and gives them a service that they would normally have to go to H & R Block or some tax professional for.

“They don’t have to pay, which is a burden on them that doesn’t have to take place.”

However, the resource is not just for community members, Strong asserts. NMU students can and do use the service that his organization provides

“We get a mixture of people from the community and people from campus too,” he said. “It’s also beneficial for our members — if they want to go into tax or are interested in going into tax —  because it gives them some experience of one-on-one client interaction and actually getting a chance to work with the software program as well as the tax issues that most people will face.”

Strong said there will be four to five tax preparers working every Sunday from now until Sunday, April 7, with the exception of Sunday, March 10 and Sunday, March 31. The program will take place in the Shiras Room in the upstairs of the Peter White Public Library, from 1 to 4 p.m.