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Students, Faculty Provide Free Tax Help
College of Business is participating in the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Kristine Goodrich, Mankato Free Press, 3-20-2016
MANKATO — Two professors, a budget manager and students are filing dozens of tax returns twice a week at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
The preparers are all volunteers.
They’re providing their expertise at no charge to university students, faculty and staff.
For the first time this tax season, the Minnesota State Mankato College of Business is participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Better known as VITA, the Internal Revenue Service trains volunteers to help lower-income citizens do their taxes.
On Monday evenings and Friday mornings, Minnesota State Mankato community members can claim a time to work with a tax ace to prepare and file their state and federal income taxes as well as state homeowner and renter rebates.
VITA programs are open to individual filers who earned $35,000 or less last year and families with an income of $55,000 or less.
Participants need to bring a number of documents and proofs of identity; the required items are listed at http://cob.mnsu. edu/vita.
Kirsten Rosacker, accounting and business law assistant professor, had been involved in VITA at other schools before coming to Minnesota State Mankato. She lead the establishment of VITA at Minnesota State Mankato with the assistance of accounting graduate student Danielle Sukalski.
Associate professor Paul Brennan and College of Business budget analyst Tammy Peterson also are volunteering their expertise to the program.
About 20 members of Beta Alpha Psi, the new College of Business student honor society, also are volunteering after completing the hours of required training.
Most of the student helpers are studying to become accountants. In addition to learning tax laws and practicing preparing returns, Rosacker said the student volunteers are gaining invaluable customer service experience.
A number of the tax returns being prepared at Minnesota State Mankato are for international students. Brennan is overseeing the international returns, but said he’s “almost superfluous now” because his student helpers have become such skilled preparers.
There also are other tax preparation assistance programs available locally for people who don’t attend or work at Minnesota State Mankato.
There are Spanish-speaking preparers available at the Minnesota Valley Action Council’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
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