Tax help offered by VITA

Students+and+community+memebers+work+with+accounting%2C+finance+and+computer+informational+systems+majors+to+complete+their+tax+returns.+They+will+meet+every+Tuesday+and+Thursday+untill+April+12.

Students and community memebers work with accounting, finance and computer informational systems majors to complete their tax returns. They will meet every Tuesday and Thursday untill April 12.

Abigail Zeman

Beta Alpha Psi, an honors organization for financial professions, will offer free income tax return assistance to students and community members for the seventh year in a row from 5 through 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

Student volunteers from accounting, finance and computer informational systems programs were certified through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), and sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service. VITA is the Beta Alpha Psi parent organization, senior accounting and finance major and the VITA site coordinator Joe Roberts, said.

“It’s beneficial that students help out, while also gaining knowledge in the field their working toward,” Roberts said.

The volunteer assistance saves people time and money by providing the same quality service as for-profit tax preparation services companies, Roberts said.

“There’s this apprehension with doing taxes, but we’re a personable group of people,” said Roberts. “It’s really fun to see weight off of everyone’s shoulders.”

The VITA site is located across from the Wildcat Den in NMU’s Trading Lab (room 2202) in the University Center. This year, Goodwill Industries donated printers and paper for the event.
Beta Alpha Psi will offer the service until April 12, with the exception of spring break week. They have already completed over 400 tax returns since Feb. 6, according to the organization’s faculty adviser Trent Batchelor.

“Experiential education is the new keyword in education,” Batchelor said. “VITA allows students to experience this before they go out and do it.”

Beta Alpha Psi received an Innovation Award in 2014 from the IRS for their community contributions through VITA by using Google Hangouts to assist individuals with tax returns in the Upper Peninsula.

“None of this would happen without the efforts of the students,” Batchelor said. “It’s plain and simple.”