For a fifth year, students pursuing a degree in accounting and finance from the University of North Georgia (UNG) Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB) will improve their tax preparation skills and share their skills with the surrounding communities through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ( VITA) help. Program sponsored by the IRS. The program served over 100 taxpayers in the 2019 filing season.
The free tax preparation services are only open by appointment from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from February 2 to March 2 in room 011 of Newton Oakes on the UNG’s Dahlonega campus. For personal appointments, the participants must adhere to the requirements of the UNG to wear a mask in all university buildings and to practice social distancing.
Appointments can be scheduled by leaving a message for Lisa Nash, Lecturer in Accounting at UNG and CPA, at 706-867-3082.
The IRS provides a list of information on what to put on a VITA website in order to prepare taxpayers for their appointment. Nash will also discuss these points when planning the appointment.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nash said the 2020 tax filing season will be challenging for taxpayers if they orient themselves on the numerous tax law changes that have been enacted to ease it.
“The changes affect all areas of individual return: income, deductions, and tax credits. With Recovery Rebate Credit, taxpayers must reconcile their economic impact recovery payments with their 2020 tax returns to ensure they get the maximum economic amount,” said Nash. “The mission of the VITA program is to help taxpayers manage the changes and provide accurate explanations.”
VITA offers free tax services to individuals who generally earn $ 57,000 or less. Students prepare 1040 forms with A, B, C-EZ, and D schedules and basic tax credits. Federal and state declarations are issued free of charge as long as the taxpayers are present. Nash reviews all tax returns with taxpayers before submitting them electronically with direct deposit if requested. The IRS will begin accepting electronically filed returns on February 12th. Therefore, between February 2nd and February 12th, prepared returns will be submitted on February 12th.
“The VITA program provides students with a wonderful hands-on experience serving our community. Students gain many new skills while participating in the VITA program. These include expanding their technical tax skills through preparing tax returns, learning how to deal with clients and learning how to get feedback on reviewed work, “said Dr. Ellen Best, Head of Accounting and Law and Associate Professor at the UNG. “The skills acquired in VITA ultimately serve to better prepare our students for success in a professional work environment.”
The students under Nash’s tutelage are certified through testing by the IRS.
“Given that many internships are being closed because of COVID, this is a really good opportunity,” said Rachel Bryant, a senior in Carrollton, Georgia. “I look forward to doing more for the community.”
Kenneth LaMore, a senior from Hiawassee, Georgia, is eager to gain this experience.
“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to help people with their taxes,” said LaMore. “It also gives me the opportunity to learn a bit more about how to do taxes for a person, how to talk to them. It helps you see what it would be like to do this on a daily basis.”
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in accounting, which is offered at the UNG’s Dahlonega and Gainesville locations, UNG also offers a Master of Accountancy. For more information, please contact Best at [email protected].