Trying to figure out where to get taxes done can be a hassle, and paying an accountant to work on returns could become pricey. At Del Mar College, area filers who make less that $66,000 per year can get their taxes filed for free.
Del Mar has partnered with a tax group to give accounting students experience and training through area filers. The free service is offered though the Volunteer Income Tax Association Program. This program allows students to file basic returns, W-2s and retirement plans.
“It’s a program offered nationwide to help individuals with moderate to low incomes,” accounting professor Adelfino Palacios said. “We started this program 15 years ago. The first year we did about 75 tax returns, and last year we did about 1,000.”
Through a grant the school is given a software package that students are trained with. Students who are filing are also taking the course Accounting 1347 to learn basic concepts.
“These are actual real-world tax returns,” Palacios said. “We train them with the software and start doing taxes for the general public.”
When it comes to ensuring your information is safe the program has a checks-and-balances system. According to Palacios each student who files a return has a certified reviewer who goes over it. All files are done online through a system that the IRS purchased called TaxSlayer.
“Nothing is kept here and everything is returned to the taxpayer,” Palacios said. “They maintain the records of all taxpayers on their site.”
This spring semester Palacios said around 30 students will be participating on a voluntary basis. Students will come and go depending on their schedules.
“It’s a good program and a win-win; our students get real-world experiences and it breaks the ice when dealing with people,” Palacios said. “You need to have good public relations skills and good training. Students’ confidences really build up during the semester.”
Services are scheduled 2-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday through April 11 at the Venters Business Building, Room 204.
For more information contact 361-698-1372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.