Catholic Campus Ministry Offers Free Tax Preparation

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Free IRS-certified tax preparation is available to students beginning Feb. 4 and lasting until April 10.

An outreach of the Catholic Campus Ministry, students can schedule an appointment to have their taxes prepared for free at the Good Shepherd House located directly behind Stutzman-Slonaker Hall.

Appointments are available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and can be made by calling the Ministry at (304) 876-0231.

Students can also schedule an appointment at the ministry’s open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on February 18.

According to the campus ministry, students should bring their social security card, documentation of all sources of income (W2s), and tuition statements from Shepherd (1098-T) to their appointment. Students should also know whether or not they are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Appointments are estimated to take about one hour and include the filing of both federal and state returns.

Those preparing the tax returns include both community members and Shepherd accounting majors. All are certified IRS volunteers.

“We have been working with Dan Williams in the accounting department to encourage accounting students to gain tax prep experience by volunteering at our VITA site,” said Kate Didden of the campus ministry. “This is a great community service and learning opportunity for students.”

While only 12 appointments are available each week at the Good Shepherd House location, the campus ministry assured no one would go unassisted. “If we get too busy we can refer students to our other partner site in Martinsburg or another VITA site in the area,” said Didden.

C.J. Ellis, a sophomore criminal justice major, commented positively on the no-cost aspect of the tax return stating, “I think they’re a great idea. If I would have known about them, I would have used them instead of the paid professional I chose.”

Allee Fream, a junior elementary education major, agreed with Ellis. “I would absolutely use this service. College students don’t have a lot of extra money, so this would be a great help,” said Fream.

When asked why the campus ministry is providing this free service, Didden said, “We are preparing taxes because part of our mission at Catholic Campus Ministry is to serve the campus and the community; it is great to assist students with tax preparation and save them some money and time or help increase their personal financial skills.”

The deadline for filing individual 2013 tax returns is April 15.