TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State University’s accounting department is offering free tax preparation on the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses, continuing a service made available with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for several years.
On the Tahlequah campus, five NSU accounting students are trained and certified representatives of VITA. The students volunteer their time each week, receive three hours tax preparation credit and gain valuable experience.
“On the Tahlequah campus, we serve about 400 people,” Dr. John Yeutter, associate professor of accounting, said in a media release. “It’s one of those win-win-win situations. It’s good for the community, good public service for NSU and good experience for the students.”
This service is not exclusive to NSU students. Free tax preparation is offered to anyone who grossed less than $60,000 in 2012.
“The Internal Revenue Service provides tax software programs for us,” said Yeutter. “It’s just as accurate as any paid service.”
The students are prepared to handle any basic tax return. Yeutter said he is available to offer help and advice on any that may be more complex.
“We do more than just an EZ return,” Yeutter said. “The students are certified for both basic and intermediate tax situations, which includes retirement income and itemized deductions, which are on the 1040 ‘long’ Form. We also do education credits, which is helpful to the NSU students. Very complicated returns, like those with sales of stocks, are outside the scope of what the students are trained to do.”
He added that the service will focus on 2012 returns.
“If someone has a prior year return that needs to be done, we can’t do that during regular hours,” he said. “Our priority is to assist people with this year’s needs.”
Yeutter said the students are excited by the opportunity to help the community and practice their knowledge and skill sets, and that practical application is necessary for such work.
“We get theoretical learning in the classroom, but this puts theory into practice,” said Yeutter. “Every return is different.
Taxpayers should bring all necessary forms, a valid ID and social security cards for the filer, spouse and dependents. For direct deposit, bank routing and account numbers are needed.
The tax preparation services are available until April 15 on both campuses. Tahlequah’s hours are Monday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. in Room 121 of Business and Technology. Broken Arrow offers services on Monday and Thursday from 5:30-8 p.m. and Saturday from 1-4 p.m. in the library. Both campuses are closed for spring break from March 18-23, but reopen on March 25.
The Broken Arrow service encourages appointments.
Call (918) 486-2471 to make an appointment or for information. No appointment is necessary at the Tahlequah campus. For information call (918) 444-2968.