USU Eastern assists with taxes

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The April 15 income tax preparation deadline is a challenge for most Americans. This need not be as concerning for students, low-income individuals or seniors because for the past 33 years, USU Eastern accounting students have been assisting individuals fill out their tax forms in the Reeves Building accounting lab.
Since 1982 USU Eastern has prepared income taxes for low-income families, seniors and students, and the best part is it’s free. USU Eastern was the first educational institution in Utah to prepare taxes for the students and community. Associate professor Henning Olsen, said, “USU Eastern was the first, the ‘flag ship’ for long-hand, computer and electronic filing.”
The class, income tax preparation, is a two-credit class that gives students a “real world experience” with basic finance knowledge. It offers students their first accounting job. Olsen said that potential professions the class prepares students for could be in accounting, public relations or as a tax preparer.
The program used is TaxWise and is IRS web based. The students must pass an IRS exam to qualify to be a tax preparer. The class and service is offered at both USU Eastern Price and Blanding campuses that Olsen oversees.
It isn’t only students who help with the preparations as other people in the community help. Hank Savage and Linda Jensen, for instance, come every year to help. Leland Sasser is another community volunteer as well as Annalee Howland who is the Price/Blanding community partner and coordinator to the program. There are about eight students and four volunteers who help.
But this offer is not limited only to the local area. Olsen said, “People come from all over the state.” Olsen also said that there have been people who have moved out of the state, who still mail in their forms to USU Eastern to have them done. “One of these requests this year just came in from South Dakota”.
To have your tax prepared, bring in your photo ID, social security card and tax source documents such as the W-2 forms from last year’s employers and a tax-practitioner will help with the paperwork. The questions most missed, according to Olsen, are the ones concerning “claiming” and “education credits.”
Olsen said, “Students who pay out of pocket tuition and fees and books need to prepare their taxes so they can receive the education credit and be reimbursed.” The refunds can be sent directly to a bank (direct deposit) or to a house address.
How does one take advantage of this incredible offer? Eastern students are eligible and encouraged to take their tax forms in to the Reeves Building Accounting Lab, room 130. The hours are from 10:30 to 1:30 pm, Monday-Thursday. Also, call 435-613-5219 and leave a message for an appointment. The call will be returned.