Accounting students, Beta Alpha Psi offer free tax services

 

An accounting student helps another with her taxes. || Lidia Vasquez/The News

Haley Russell
Assistant News Editor

With tax season drawing to a close, Murray State’s Beta Alpha Psi and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Program’s free tax sessions are as well.

Accounting majors and members of Beta Alpha Psi offers free tax services for members of both the University and city communities.

Floyd Carpenter, professor of accounting, has been working with the VITA program since 1995 and continues that this year, offering sessions on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. in Room 353of the Business Building.

“We provide tax payers assistance in preparing federal income tax returns as well as state returns, Kentucky returns,” he said.

Carpenter said the benefits are great for not only those who attend the free sessions, but the students who are gaining experience preparing the taxes.

“For those who work it, it’s a great learning laboratory,” he said. “They’re actually dealing with real life tax payers who have information that they need to return on their tax return…it gives the students who participate the opportunity to prepare actual tax returns.”

Because of the e-filing system the program uses, Carpenter said students working on the taxes are given the opportunity to become familiar with software they could potentially used in the workforce.

By providing assistance, Carpenter said members of the community who take advantage of the services avoid having to pay or do their taxes on their own.

Carpenter said offering this tax service is a great way to reach out to the community outside of the University.

“It’s a great outreach tool,” he said. “We have the resources here and offer this service to the community. We’ve had tax payers not just from Murray and Calloway County, but we’ve had some from Marshall County, as well.”

Students that prepare the taxes are very knowledgeable on taxes, Carpenter said.

“Our students who are involved with the program who actually prepare and review returns, number one, they’ve already had the federal income tax course that I teach, but all who prepare returns are IRS certified, so they have to take tests and have to provide their certification to me,” he said.

Also available at the sessions are international tax returns.

Carpenter said several international students work to prepare these returns.

“The majority of international students have to file an NR return, non resident returns,” he said. “Particularly because of the language barrier, it’s a struggle to file a tax return and so we really help out in that regard. And plus, we have some international students who are accounting majors and they always volunteer to work with the program. I think that helps a whole lot.”

Samantha Lierer, senior from Jackson, Mo., and vice president of Beta alpha Psi honor fraternity, said it was a good way to get the community on campus.

“We do have one of the best VITA programs for our size school, so we’d like to get that tradition going on,” she said.

Lierer said no matter how much an accounting student plans on working with taxes in their future career, it will always be a facet of it somehow.

“It prepared me for going and doing tax returns in the future,” she said. “I don’t now how much tax work I’ll be doing after graduation but in any (accounting office) you’re going to be around taxes.”

Taxpayers must bring a photo ID and a social security card or other identifying documents for the tax payers and any dependents, 2011 W-2s, 1099s and other relevant tax records and copies of completed 2010 tax returns.