KU Law students offer assistance with free tax preparation
LAWRENCE - Do you know if you're eligible for free tax preparation services?
This spring, University of Kansas School of Law students with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will once again prepare returns for taxpayers who are residents of Douglas County, make less than $60,000 per household per year and do not itemize their deductions. The VITA sessions began Feb. 20 and will run through Tax Day, which is April 18. No sessions will take place March 13-19 during KU's spring break.
"Taxes are something most every person in the U.S. has to deal with, but it causes anxiety for a lot of individuals," said Toni Ruo, third-year law student. "The VITA program allows KU Law students to lesson that anxiety. At the same time, even for students without a tax background, it is an opportunity not only to get more familiar with the tax code but to get to know the Douglas County community."
Operating on a first-come, first-served basis, the VITA clinic offers several locations that taxpayers can visit for assistance. The numbers of preparers varies with each location so those seeking assistance are encouraged to arrive near the start of each session. Each participant should bring proof of identification and all relevant documentation, including proof of income and expenditures. For more information, call 785-864-9227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's clinic is coordinated by Ruo, who is a certified public accountant.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the VITA program at KU Law," Ruo said. "Coming to law school from a career in tax has been a great way to exercise the tax muscle and view tax preparation from a different perspective. When we finish a tax return and we tell the individual everything is done and taken care of, they are extremely appreciative and thankful."
The VITA volunteers have already received gratitude from the community.
"We received a voicemail from a woman who came into the clinic, thanking us again for helping her finish her taxes," Ruo said. "This is the reason I love the VITA clinic. You see the immediate impact on the community, and that is an invaluable perspective on tax preparation that I have gained through my participation in the VITA clinic."
The federal income tax filing due date is April 18.