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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The tax men cometh – student groups are ready

    The scariest day of the year for most Americans is less than two months away.

    April 15, not Halloween, might give students the heebie-jeebies, but fortunately there are plenty of on-campus options open to students to file their taxes on time.

    The Credit-Wise Cats, a student organization that helps students gain financial understanding, offers one-on-one counseling sessions to students in need of filing assistance, said Adam Krauseneck, a personal financial skills educator for the group and molecular and cellular biology senior.

    Last year, the Credit-Wise Cats conducted almost 20 one-on-one sessions. An increase this year in the number of patrons could lead the group to make a PowerPoint presentation for the future, Krauseneck said.

    “”If there is enough demand, they will develop a presentation,”” he said.

    Krauseneck said the counseling sessions offer an opportunity for students to learn how to file on their own so they won’t have to pay for filing services in the future.

    “”It’s definitely something to get used to because you’ll need it when you get out (of college),”” Krauseneck said.

    The one-on-one counseling is free and open to anyone, Krauseneck said.

    For the do-it-yourself student, there are a number of tax preparation software programs available.

    The UofA Bookstores sell both the standard and deluxe editions of Intuit’s TurboTax program.

    “”Last year, (the bookstore) had pretty good sales of deluxe,”” said Nathan Gulledge, assistant buyer of the CATS section and UA alumnus.

    Although only a few copies of TurboTax have been sold so far, sales are expected to pick up as tax day approaches, said Gulledge, who prefers to file his taxes by hand.

    Students also have the option of having someone else prepare their taxes.

    Tax services like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt can give students an expert look at their tax return.

    Students can run into many problems if they file on their own, said Terry Johnson, a master tax advisor for H&R Block.

    Students often have problems when it comes to determining if they are claimed as a dependent by parents or knowing which type of education credit to choose, Johnson said.

    Students who file their own taxes can bring them into H&R Block for a free check, Johnson said.

    Whichever method students choose to use, they should have some understanding of how to file on their own, Johnson said.

    “”In my opinion, it’s never too soon for a student to understand how to do them,”” Johnson said. “”It never hurts to get a professional opinion, though.””

    Volunteers from the Arizona Students’ Association are expected to participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which will offer tax assistance to those who need it, said Josh Jackson, an accounting senior.

    The VITA program will have 12 sites set up around Tucson to provide tax assistance, he said.

    “”It’s not something set up directly for students, but it’s something students can go to,”” Jackson said.

    While VITA will already be in operation, the ASA volunteers are expected to staff the sites from mid-March to April, Jackson said.

    Tara Thayer, a theatre arts senior, filed her taxes this year for the first time by submitting them online.

    Thayer said she chose to file them electronically because of the extra explanation it provides.

    “”It was easier,”” Thayer said. “”It had links that make you understand what they never talk about.””

    Ian Durnan, a political science senior, said he would rather take his taxes to a trusted company when it comes time to file them.

    “”I would probably go to who my parents use,”” Durnan said.

    Individuals who are looking for the nearest VITA site can call (800) 829-1040.

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