Students provide tax help

Kat Klawes

Beta Alpha Psi will be preparing students for tax season this year by providing free tax services.

Trent Batchlor, adviser of Beta Alpha Psi, prepares Beta Alpha Psi  accounting club students for the tax season. Beta Alpha Psi will be doing takes for free from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday from Feb. 9 to April 12. (Katie Stumman/NW)
Trent Batchlor, adviser of Beta Alpha Psi, prepares Beta Alpha Psi accounting club students for the tax season. Beta Alpha Psi will be doing takes for free from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday from Feb. 9 to April 12. (Katie Stumman/NW)

Beta Alpha Psi is the NMU Accounting and Finance Club and is a professional organization that actively engages in the professional development of students in the Accounting, Finance, and Computer Information Systems programs at Northern Michigan University.  Beta Alpha Psi is providing this service through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA).

The service will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday from Feb. 9 to April 12 in the Peter White Public Library and in the Marquette Room of the University Center.

“This is the first year where we will be having two locations,” Luke Verstegen, VITA program coordinator said. “We typically hold it at the Peter White Library but we will also on campus. It will be a good experience for a lot of freshmen and sophomores. For them, they will see a lot of the same returns but it will be real world experience for them that they’re not going to receive elsewhere.”

According to the Accounting Club President Nick Wahrer students, as well as any low-income individuals with a gross income of under $50,000 are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

“It is important for students to attend the event because many of them are unsure of how to prepare taxes,” Wahrer said. “Even if they know how, it can be very time consuming and our tax software allows us to prepare them much quicker than an individual could.”

Verstegen said going through the Beta Alpha Psi tax service also helps students save money and better prepare for tax season.

“It is imperative students attend our tax assistance program for the benefit of themselves as well as the preparers,” Verstegen said. “In today’s market college students have low income and high debt, so any chance for free tax assistance is invaluable. Other services charge upwards of $50 which is proportionately a large fee for a typical student’s return.”

According to Wahrer, members are required to pass a skills test to become certified before being allowed to be a part of the program.

“Students volunteering their time and intellect generally are accounting majors, so this is an invaluable opportunity to gain real world experience,” Verstegen said. “Other than the highly competitive internship market, prior to graduation students have limited options to gain such knowledge. Students of NMU will get their taxes done quickly and for free, ridding them of an otherwise complicated endeavor.”

“Our members are mainly accounting majors and do this to gain experience preparing taxes, as well as to help out the community,” Wahrer said. “Last year a student did not file her taxes for the three previous years, and we ended up getting her over $2,000 back from the IRS.”

Wahrer said students should prepare for their taxes early, especially with the federal tax date being less than three months away.

“Students should make sure to bring their social security cards, state identification, any w-2 and generally the 10 908 t form for tuition,” Verstegan said. “You need to bring all of those things but the biggest thing is the social security card. Not a lot of kids have those. Our biggest problem is ‘are you claimed as a dependent?’,” Verstegen said. “Student’s never know and we often have to have them call to find out because typically they aren’t sure.”

The event is coordinated by Lucas Verstegan, VITA coordinator and Trent Batchelor, faculty advisor. To learn more contact Wahrer at [email protected] or Verstegan at [email protected]