Sunday April 14th, 2024 10:19AM

UNG offering free student-lead tax assistance

By Megan Nelson Intern

Tax season is officially underway. Once again, the University of North Georgia is offering student-lead tax assistance both online and in person as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, sponsored by the IRS.


VITA offers free consultation on tax services to people who generally make $60,000 or less. Individuals making up to $73,000 may still qualify to use the program remotely.  


The online option offers a free, facilitated, self-assist program where taxpayers can prepare their information online with oversight from the University’s VITA volunteers. This service allows students and community members to learn how to file their returns with guidance to ensure all returns are completed accurately.


On-site assistance is given by appointment only. Meetings are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February on the Dahlonega campus. The students involved in the program are certified by testing through the IRS. All preparations will be overseen by Lisa Nash, CPA and senior lecturer of accounting. 


Students prepare 1040 forms with schedules A, B, C-EZ, and D, along with basic tax credits. Federal and state returns are prepared for free while taxpayers are present. Nash reviews all returns with the taxpayers before she files them electronically and will set up direct deposit for refunds if desired.


"As the IRS begins to implement a 'direct file' format for individuals, the facilitated self-assist program allows taxpayers to file their taxes directly with the IRS," Nash said. "However, they have a connection to our volunteer site if they have questions during the filing process. Once the taxpayer contacts us, we will email a link for the self-preparation and instructions on how to use our services if needed."


Students pursuing bachelor's and master's accounting degrees in the UNG Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB) will build their tax preparation skills and aid the surrounding communities by volunteering with VITA. The program usually helps over 100 taxpayers each filing season through UNG alone. 


"The VITA program is an excellent opportunity for our students to grow both their technical knowledge and client service skills while assisting our community," Dr. Ellen Best, department head of Accounting and Law and an associate professor at UNG, said. "Both our students and community members benefit from this program." 

For more information on self-assist online, email [email protected]

To schedule an appointment on campus, call 706-867-3082

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