Fairmont State University Accounting students are providing free income tax preparation assistance in four counties, and they're getting real experience in the process.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offers tax preparation services in Fairmont, Mannington, Clarksburg, Kingwood and Parsons.
The student volunteers receive training and certification from the IRS to help prepare basic tax returns.
Many taxpayers return each year and even refer friends.
"It's an overwhelming response. Usually there is a waiting line to get your tax return done by the students. They take an IRS certification exam. Once they pass the exam, they are qualified to do tax returns," said Jean Engebretson, of Fairmont State University.
In 2013, the West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families presented Fairmont State University with its Higher Education Partner of the Year Award to honor volunteer service by the FSU School of Business and its VITA program.
"The VITA program is an effective community outreach service of the School of Business. The students work long hours and travel to many locations to provide this free service. Their level of expertise and professionalism is routinely praised by the participants. The goodwill generated for the School of Business is immeasurable," said Dr. Richard Harvey, Dean of the School of Business.
The Fairmont State VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries and other convenient and public locations. The service includes free electronic filing. To view the complete 2014 VITA schedule of dates and locations, visit the VITA website. For more information, call (304) 367-4261.
You don't need an appointment, but if you want assistance, you should arrive at least an hour before closing time. Returns are prepared on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of returns prepared may be limited.