The terrors of tax season

Check out the Prezi above before or after reading the article for more tax info related to students.

Tax season offers one more reason for busy college students to throw their hands up in despair.

It is always nice to deposit that refund check, but the process leading up to it can be daunting and tedious. Students already have enough on their docket with reading assignments and studying for exams. Now add in the stress tax preparation brings and watch the destruction commence.

Those looking to fill out a FAFSA before Mar. 1 know all too well the pressures brought by trying to properly file taxes, and there are a myriad of issues to resolve during the process.

Students have to decide what information is required to complete their taxes. With all those numbers and different tax forms this can take more than a smile. The difference between a 1040A and a 1040EZ seems arbitrary, but is more significant than only two letters.

Just accumulating all the necessary information can be a hassle. Finding a social security card, waiting for W-2s to come in and making sure all the proper forms are present when the time comes to actually submit taxes to the IRS. Speaking of time, finding a few hours to do all this can become a challenge all its own.

Finally, students must determine where they should go for tax preparation, because everyone knows the average college student does not have the time required to learn how to prepare their own taxes. If they decide to use H&R Block, they will pay hundreds based on income. The same will happen with a CPA.

TurboTax or other online software will complete federal tax forms for free, but will charge to file state forms. Even if students file their taxes with an online service, there is a chance that they didn’t input all the information accurately and cost themselves extra refund money.

The IRS says the three biggest mistakes college students make on income taxes are filing the wrong dependency status, missing out education-based deductions and not filing dual state taxes.

The ideal solution for the already-busy college student would be an inexpensive service that helps students file state and federal tax forms and offer expert advice on how to maximize the amount of money received on return.

Enter Beta Alpha Psi. The accounting honors society is participating in a VITA (volunteer income tax assistance) program every Saturday in Rehn Hall from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Graduate student of accountancy, Matt Tupy, is a 3-year member and current chapter president of Beta Alpha Psi. He is the coordinator of the program and recommends his team as a solution. Each member is certified to complete income tax forms for anyone that makes less than $32,000 a year.

“In order to be a tax preparer you need to pass a test or two depending on the level of returns you can do,” Tupy said. “They take the test and then print out the certifications and that’s how they’re qualified to prepare the taxes. Everyone that participates in VITA has to do it.”

Tupy said the process shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete and is convenient for all customers.

“We electronically file, so once you come here and we make sure your return is fine we create an e-file and we submit it, you don’t have to send anything in to the IRS. We do it all for you,” he said.

Then comes the icing on the cake.

“We are free, so if you go to H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt or a CPA, we don’t charge,” Tupy said.

The last session is Apr. 12, the Saturday before taxes are due.

Zach McGinnis can be reached at zmcginnis@dailyegyptian.com, on Twitter at @ZaqMac87 or at 536-3311 ext. 268.

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