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MSU Denver accounting students offer free tax preparation

Program is available to MSU Denver students, faculty and staff who qualify.

By Tim Carroll

February 1, 2018

Students volunteering for tax programStudents in accounting affiliate professor Robert Persichitte’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance course are offering free tax preparation services to individuals who earned less than $54,000 in 2017.

All eligible MSU Denver students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take advantage of free tax assistance.

The free tax preparation program starts Feb. 1 and runs through April 12. All appointments are available by walk-up every Monday and Thursday in MSU Denver’s Student Success Building, Room 234 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. to those who qualify. The typical tax filing can take anywhere from a half-hour to an hour-and-a-half depending on the complexity of the return.

MSU Denver has been a supporter of the IRS-sponsored VITA program for more than three decades, helping Denver area lower-income individuals and families with their tax returns.

Accounting graduate Zachary Nelson worked with the VITA program last year and is returning this year to volunteer in a more supervisory role. Nelson worked as a billing analyst at SendGrid during his time at MSU Denver before graduating last fall, and now he wants to continue volunteering in a way that utilizes his newly acquired skills.

“There are a lot of volunteer opportunities out there to give back, but I like this one in particular because we can make a real impact on helping individuals keep their money in our community. They wouldn’t be in as good of financial situation without this help. We hope to increase the total number of tax returns completed this year.”

In 2017, students prepared more than 400 tax returns totaling $600,000 in total returns.

To be eligible to participate, graduate accounting students must have previously volunteered in a VITA program as an undergraduate or worked in a tax firm for at least one year. All student tax consultants in the VITA program receive certification as volunteer tax preparers with oversight from credentialed professional faculty.

MSU Denver’s VITA class is affiliated with the Piton Foundation, as well as a group of community-based nonprofit, government and private organizations. Student tax preparers will use IRS TaxSlayer software to file returns electronically on behalf of clients.

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