FSU students offer free basic tax preparation

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — Community members have a chance to have free, basic tax return preparation completed through the beginning of April.

Fairmont State University accounting students are once again offering IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) tax preparation in Marion, Harrison, Preston and Tucker counties.

Dr. T. Jean Engebretson, associate professor of accounting, said the service is a win-win.

“It is an excellent opportunity for the students because they get to practice with live tax return information,” she said. “It is also good for the community because they get to get their tax return done for free.”

Dr. Richard Harvey, dean of the FSU School of Business, said this program is a community outreach service.

“The students work long hours and travel to many locations to provide this free service,” he said in the schools press release. “Their level of expertise and professionalism is routinely praised by the participants. The goodwill generated for the School of Business is immeasurable.”

In 2013, Fairmont State University was presented a Higher Education Partner of the Year Award to honor the service provided by the VITA program and the School of Business. The award was presented by the West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families.

“Student volunteers have a responsibility to provide high-quality service and uphold the highest of ethical standards,” the award’s release said. “The student volunteers receive training and certification from the IRS to help prepare basic tax returns in North Central West Virginia communities. Many taxpayers return each year and refer their friends and neighbors to the FSU VITA program.”

Services will be offered locally from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday, March 28; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 8 at the FSU third-floor conference rooms in Falcon Center. Other Marion County opportunities include from?10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 24 at the Mannington Public Library and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 7 in the mezzanine of the downtown Fairmont Wesbanco Building.

For other counties’ dates and locations, visit www.fairmontstate.edu/schoolofbusiness/academics/vita-income-tax-return-preparation.

Engebretson said appointments are not accepted.

“It is a first-come first-serve service, so there are a lot of days that the slots fill up fast,” she said. “So if you are not there right at the time we start or right before, you probably won’t get your tax return done.”

To participate, Engebretson said to bring a photo ID for the taxpayer and spouse, original Social Security cards for every person listed on the return, proof of medical insurance, all tax documents and last year’s return if possible.

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