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Free tax service expanding to campus for students, community

As reported last month, accounting students in the College of Business and Economics are offering a free tax preparation service at the Boise Public Library through April 15 for anyone who makes $66,000 or less annually. The program has expanded to offer an on-campus location due to the increasing demand from the campus community. February 27-April 13, accounting students will be on site in the Micron Business and Economics Building, room 3014, during the following times (with the exception of spring break March 23-27, or March 30):

  • Mondays from 6-8 p.m. (ends April 13)
  • Tuesdays from 4:30-5:45 p.m. (ends April 7)
  • Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. (ends April April 9)

The IRS-certified students will be available to help taxpayers complete their tax returns using the free software available via MyFreeTaxes. Students at this site will not be doing the actual tax return preparation with clients. If clients want the return prepared for them, they will need to visit the Boise Public Library during the times listed here.

There are no income limits at the on-campus site. Preparation and filing is free as long as the taxpayer does not have business income (Schedule C or E), capital gains or losses (Schedule D) or income reported on a 1099-MISC. Volunteers cannot assist international students or if an individual’s filing status is married but they are filing separately.

What to bring:

  • In order to e-file their tax return, taxpayers must know their 2018 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
  • Prior year tax return
  • Original social security card(s)
  • Proof of identification
  • Income forms (W-2s, 1099s)
  • Other income or expense documentation
  • Voided check (for direct deposit)

Congress first authorized Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program services in 1969. The Department of Accountancy revitalized Boise State’s involvement in this program in 2013 in partnership with the Boise Public Library. Since then, Boise State students have assisted in the preparation of more than 1,600 tax returns despite limited site hours each year. Boise State’s VITA clients receive an average refund of more than $1,000.

The one-credit course is designated as a service learning course for students – 14 students are certified tax preparers and eight are members of business honor society Beta Alpha Psi, volunteering as greeters. Additionally, six community members and five University of Idaho students are volunteering as tax preparers.

“The program allows all of us to provide an important service to our community,” said Kathy Hurley, the Boise State site coordinator and the instructor for Boise State’s VITA preparation class. “The students not only gain real-life experience working with clients and applying tax law, but they learn from their clients’ life experiences. These business students are giving our clients peace of mind that their tax returns have been completed professionally and for free.”

Please contact Hurley at kathyhurley@boisestate.edu for more information about this program. Please note: Hurley cannot answer specific personal tax and W-4 allowance questions on the phone or via email.