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Students Help with Tax Returns

Morgantown residents are already getting a tax break —way before the April 15 tax deadline.

Fifteen accounting seniors and graduate students at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics are helping prepare tax returns for people who can’t afford to pay for the service. They are getting college credit and lots of experience.  Already dozens of tax payers have taken advantage of the students’ abilities to prepare and file tax forms.

“The Internal Revenue Service has certified all of our students who are preparing tax returns,” said Nancy Ruhe, who teaches accounting at the college. “It’s a big step from classroom theory to working with actual clients, but they are ready.” She said students must do a dozen test tax returns and pass an IRS exam before they are certified. “The students find the first actual tax return is a bit scary, but after a few, they feel more comfortable.”

That’s the idea, said Presha Neidermeyer, who is also working with the students. The class is designed to help students who will soon be graduating make the transition from classroom to clients.  “Not only are they getting a lot of experience in tax accounting, which is what they’ve learned in classes, but they are also learning how to interact with real clients,” she said.

Ruhe, who has done tax preparation in a similar program for seniors sponsored by AARP, said the students are also helping their clients prepare for next year’s tax cycle. “They are trying to meet their clients’ needs,” she said, “and that goes beyond this year’s tax returns.”

The students will be working with clients (U.S. citizens or permanent residents only and state tax returns only for West Virginia) right up until April 15. Call 293-7840 to schedule an appointment.