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UNG accounting students to offer free tax preparation in February
01232023 UNG TAX PREP
This February, accounting students at UNG will offer free tax prep to those in their communities as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program sponsored by the IRS. (photo courtesy of UNG)

This February, students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in accounting from the University of North Georgia (UNG) will offer free tax preparation as a way to build their skills and be of service in their community. 

According to a press release by UNG, the students participating are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, sponsored by the IRS. The UNG program typically serves over 100 taxpayers each filing season. 

The free tax preparation services are offered by appointment only from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Feb. 2 through March 2, the release said. The services are located in room 153 of the newly opened Cottrell Center for Business, Technology & Innovation on UNG’s Dahlonega campus. 

Lisa Nash, a certified public accountant (CPA) and UNG senior lecturer of accounting, will oversee the tax preparation services. The students, under Nash's direction, are certified by testing through the IRS.

"Students get to grow both their soft skills and their technical knowledge, and our community members get knowledgeable assistance in preparing their tax returns," Department Head of Accounting and Law Ellen Best said in the release. "The skills our students grow during their participation in VITA help them in turn to be better professionals when they go out into the workplace."

VITA offers free tax services to people who generally make $60,000 or less, the release said. Students prepare 1040 forms with schedules A, B, C-EZ and D, along with basic tax credits. Federal and state returns will be prepared for free while the taxpayers are present, and Nash will review all returns with the taxpayers before filing them electronically, with direct deposit available if desired. 

According to the release, students in the program are eager to help those in their community with tax preparations and to gain valuable experience at the same time.

"This experience will help me in the future because I already did an internship in audit and have a job in audit, so this will give me a little bit of insight into what the other big side of accounting looks like," UNG senior accounting student Erin Whatley said in the release. "This way, if I ever decide I need a change from audit, I know a little bit about what tax looks like in the workplace and can decide if it is something I will want to do full time.”

"I am looking forward to making connections and helping the elderly in the community by assisting them with their tax returns and answering any tax questions they may have. My goal is to make sure that every client I interact with has a good experience and continues to come back year after year to the VITA program," UNG senior accounting student Esther Rizo added in the release. "By being a part of the VITA program, I hope to gain tax experience that will help me decide if the tax side of accounting is a good fit for me."

The site will also be offering an online, facilitated self-assist program which will allow taxpayers to prepare their own tax returns with the oversight and assistance of the VITA volunteers. Taxpayers are encouraged to go to the IRS website for a list of items to bring to their appointment. 

For more information about the program, the self-assist option or to schedule an appointment on campus, call 706-867-3082 or email vita@ung.edu. 

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