Accounting students offer free income tax preparation


Courtesy of Wilkes Marketing

Accounting students at Wilkes are using their skills to administer free assistance to members of the community and students in preparing their tax returns. From left: Daniel O’Steen, Shelby Trumbo, Trudi Casier, Christine Quinn, and Amanda Cohick.

Accounting students will get a little extra industry practice, while students and members of the community will get a little extra free help this tax season through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

Students will be assisting taxpayers with less than $54,000 in yearly household income file their basic federal, state and local tax returns, according to a press release.

The assistance will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 17 and 24 in Room 134 of University Center on Main (UCOM), at 169 S. Main St.

The tax assistance is available by appointment only. Interested parties should call 570-408-4710 and leave a message with their name and number. Taxpayers filing joint returns must have their spouse present.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, often abbreviated “VITA,” is a government program meant provide access to free assistance with preparing tax returns for individuals making less than $54,000 a year, those with disabilities and those whose English speaking is limited.

According to the website’s VITA site locator, only one other site exists in Wilkes-Barre.

This will be senior accounting and finance double major Trudi Casier’s second year participating in the program. This year, she is serving as a senior site coordinator, which entails “overseeing and teaching the new juniors how to do everything,” she said.

She said that the experience has been enriching — both from educational and philanthropic perspectives.

“VITA is an excellent program for students to get real-life experience doing taxes. I participate because it has been an exceptional learning experience in more ways than just the tax prep, and we are helping out community members,” Casier said. “It really is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Casier said that community members are consistently more likely to use the service, but that students need not shy away.

“It’s certainly a good resource if any students need their taxes done too,” she said.