Students assist with filing taxes

Murray State’s department of accounting along with the accounting student honor society, Beta Alpha Psi, will once again be conducting Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

The accounting students will be available for five Fridays throughout the rest of the semester to help Murray State students, employees, moderate-income taxpayers and senior citizens with assistance in tax preparation.

Floyd Carpenter, professor of accounting and VITA site manager, said Murray State has conducted the program for more than 30 years. Over the past three years, the program has assisted taxpayers with almost 400 returns a year.

The program has also been nationally recognized for its outstanding work. Three years ago, the organization received a plaque from the Internal Revenue Service due to the program’s excellent work.

Amanda Grossman, adviser for Beta Alpha Psi, said that the students involved with the tax service benefit in numerous ways, particularly from interacting with members of not only Murray State community, but with the city as a whole.

“The students who participate in VITA learn valuable skills that will be applicable to securing employment for them in the future,” Grossman said. “They become familiar with numerous technical issues involving the completion of tax returns as well as the tax return process as a whole.”

Students assisting in VITA receive training to become IRS certified before they are able to provide tax assistance to the public. Those seeking tax assistance of VITA need no appointment; it is done in a first-come, first-serve basis.

It is not just the public that seeks the assistance of VITA, but many of the students at Murray State as well.

“A noteworthy number of our clientele are students themselves,” Grossman said. “These individuals may need assistance completing their first tax return, or may face unfamiliar issues, such as accounting for income earned outside of the state.”

Grossman said that a number of foreign students seek the services VITA offers for help with their tax preparations. The community at large can benefit from receiving assistance for a wide range of issues ranging from determining proper filing status to accounting for workers’ compensation.

Those seeking tax preparation assistance with federal and state tax returns should bring with them the following documents: photo I.D., social security card, and any other identifying documents of the taxpayers and any dependents that they might have. W-2s, 1099s and tax records from 2012 are needed as well as any copies of completed 2011 tax returns if they are available.

Beta Alpha Psi is in its 26th consecutive year of superior status and members highly participate in various types of other events throughout the school year.

Grossman said that participating in the VITA program is a crucial factor in maintaining the organization’s status.

“Our chapter has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the members of the Murray community,” Grossman said. “We look forward to continuing to provide this service for years to come.”

The Friday sessions will be from noon to 4 p.m. in the Business Building in room 353. The dates are March 1, March 8 and April 12.

Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff writer.