FMU students offer free tax return preparation services
Francis Marion University accounting students are once again offering free tax return preparation through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Each Wednesday night, beginning Jan. 27 and ending on April 13, tax preparation assistance will be offered in room 259C in Founders Hall on the FMU campus from 5-9 p.m. Taxes are, of course, due on April 15.
Taxpayers seeking help should bring a picture ID, a social security card (or Military I.D. bearing the social security number) for the taxpayer, his/her spouse and all dependents listed on the tax return. Taxpayers should also bring their W-2s and 1099 forms. The program is open to all residents of the United States. There are no income requirements for the service and the group can prepare both state and federal taxes.
The student tax preparers are seniors who are in or have passed the Accounting 428 Federal Tax II course and who have received special certification through the VITA program. Dr. Brad Johnson, associate professor of accounting at FMU and supervisor of the VITA program at the university, says the student preparers are well-equipped to complete tax returns of various kinds. “The VITA program at FMU is a win-win for everyone involved.
The IRS is insured of having tax returns prepared with competency,” says Johnson. “The students get great professional training and the Florence community receives a valuable service, free of charge.” Johnson has been a tax professor for more than 30 years. He joined the FMU faculty in 2003 and teaches tax and financial accounting, the legal environment of business and financial accounting theory and practice. This is the tenth year FMU has served as a VITA location.