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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Eller students relieve stress of taxes

Angeline Carbajal
Jesse Lee, pre-business sophomore and student accountant at the UA Bookstore, begins to file taxes with Turbo Tax online. Lee is part of a team of volunteers who will provide tax preparation services on Saturdays from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the College of Eller during tax season.

There will be a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site on campus at the Eller College of Management, hosted by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, the Eller College and the University of Arizona Accounting Student Association, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 11, excluding Feb. 21.

Reid Lunceford, president of UAASA, said he knows how difficult it is to do your own taxes.

“There are so many complex rules, and it’s so easy to mess something up,” Lunceford said. “I think people are busy, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. VITA is by far the most well-known tax preparer for low-income individuals.”

Ken Briggs, senior director of community development for United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, said there will be people at McClelland Hall to directly assist UA students and employees with tax preparation. Briggs said the VITA program is sponsored by the IRS and is all over the country.

“They’ll go through kind of an interview,” Briggs said. “We’ll fill out the forms together and make sure we get it right.”

Jamie McLaughlin, Feso/VITA coordinator for UAASA, said that United Way has used UAASA in the past to reach student volunteers, and that students from the group will be helping prepare taxes.

“We’ve got services available to [give] students and employees free and quality tax-preparation assistance,” Briggs said. “These are students helping students now.”

McLaughlin added that some UAASA students will be volunteering to help prepare taxes and others will be volunteering throughout the community.

Briggs said students and employees also have the option of bringing in documents with a social security card and photo ID. He said they will send it into a secure cloud platform, have someone work on it and the students or employee can come pick it up in seven to 10 days.

“I think it will be fantastic for the university,” McLaughlin said. “VITA has pretty much always been for the general low-income population of Tucson, but they’ve never directly reached out to the community that is on campus, so it will be a great resource for those who are looking for free tax help.”

A third option Briggs explained were free online tax preparation softwares.

“It’s like any other tax software that you actually end up paying for, but this is free because you are under the income limit,” Briggs said.

Jesse Lee, a pre-business sophomore and student accountant at the UA Bookstore accounting department, said he thinks the program will be beneficial because he knows a lot of people who are either intimidated by or don’t know how to do their taxes.

“Free online tax softwares can be really helpful for students who would rather punch in numbers on the computer than fill out tax forms and figure out where to send them,” Lee said.


Follow Brandi Walker on Twitter.

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