Beta Alpha Psi hosts volunteer income tax assistance service

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Story by Tierra Reese, Contributing writer

Beta Alpha Psi, a national honor society of accounting founded in 1919, is back with its traditional income tax services. States give their yearly volunteer tax services to students and community members, and Murray State is participating.

In 2014, Beta Alpha Psi was unable to participate in the annual tax services due to the death of Floyd Carpenter, an accounting tax professor and head adviser of the event. Ray Rodriguez has taken over for Carpenter and is carrying on the tradition for the 2015-16 year.

Rodriguez, assistant professor in department of accounting, plans to attend the five dates of tax services as a supervisor but ultimately leaves everything in good hands of the volunteers.

“I set them up for success, the students do everything,” Rodriquez said. “I try to stay out of it and just watch.”

Beta Alpha Psi’s IRS-certified volunteers are qualified to do federal and all state tax returns with no appointment necessary. There are three different levels of volunteers: basic volunteer prepare domestic tax returns, advanced volunteers perform domestic tax returns and review them and foreign volunteers prepare and review domestic and foreign tax return.

Members are available for these services on five dates: Feb. 19, March 4, March 11, April 1 and April 8. Beta Alpha Psi will host the services in the Business Building, from 12 to 4 p.m. in Room 353.

“The IRS has a really structured training system which everybody has to go through,” Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t matter whether you have been volunteering for years or this is your first time, everybody must go through the training and testing.”

Awards are given each year from the International Honor Organization for financial information students and professionals, which the Epsilon Nu chapter was awarded for the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) most outstanding chapter in 2014-15.

“We’ve helped a lot of people and so there has been recognition with that when there was no other service available,” Rodriguez said.

“In 2013, the organization did over 100 tax returns services and predict 2015’s tax returns will double,” said Erika Brunson, Beta Alpha Psi’s president.

Brunson said she hopes that this year the number will double because people will know more about their service and when it will be available.

“My goal this year is for more people to trust that our volunteers are all IRS-certified and qualified to handle these tax services,” Brunson said. Hopefully, more people will show up at our set dates knowing that they are in good hands.”