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College of Business provides tax service for students and community

The College of Business is providing tax preparation services for Michigan Tech students and community members. This program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), has been offered at Michigan Tech for over 25 years. 

“Accounting students from the College of Business provide tax return preparation services to fellow Husky students and members of the community who otherwise would not be able to afford the services of a tax professional,” Joel Tuoriniemi, accounting professor, said. 

VITA is a national program that allows accounting students the opportunity to apply the skills they are learning throughout their courses in a real life environment. The students that perform the services complete a training program before they are able to participate in preparation. Once completed, the VITA program is staffed entirely by these students. 

The students prepare returns at both the federal and state levels that include preparing 1040 tax returns as well as reviewing W-2s and other documents. The students carefully check that the returns include the correct information. They also look for circumstances where the student may be entitled to FICA (Social Security & Medicare) taxes that might have been wrongly withheld. 

“In such cases, the students also file the necessary tax forms to get these amounts refunded to the client,” Tuoriniemi said. 

It can be intimidating for college students to prepare tax returns themselves, and finding affordable assistance geared towards college-aged returns can be difficult. Luckily, the VITA program is here to help. 

“The clients who utilize the VITA program are usually overwhelmed at the thought of having to prepare tax returns on their own,” Tuoriniemi said, “They appreciate the work the student volunteers perform.” 

These student volunteers get a great deal out of the program as well. Their work with VITA can be put on resumes and aid in securing internships and even full-time placements as tax professionals. 

“Michigan Tech prides itself on creating a contemporary, applied learning environment that prepares our students to make immediate contributions when entering a professional work environment,” Tuoriniemi said, “VITA is a great example of this.” 

VITA services will be provided on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from March 13 through April 12. Walk-in and virtual appointments are not available, so students must sign up through the Michigan Tech events calendar. Returns will be prepared in the College of Business building.

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