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Tax help on the way

By Melissa Rosenblatt
On February 17, 2014

If the day hasn't come yet where you have to do your own taxes, it will come sooner rather than later.   Many students either have their parents fill out their tax forms or do not have a job that requires filling out taxes.  But whether it is while still in college or after graduation, students will soon have to start submitting their own tax forms and there are plenty of ways to get this done painlessly.

VITA, or volunteer income tax assistance, is a program at UConn that provides students with tax assistance when filling out their forms for tax refunds.  In order to be a "preparer" or help students with their taxes, you must be an accounting major that has taken the federal income tax class offered at UConn.  In addition to taking this class, preparers have training sessions in order to be able to help students to their best ability.   And for good measure, more experienced members, or "reviewers," examine all tax forms.  VITA's members are not paid and can earn up to one accounting credit. 

 "Last year we were able to file 575 tax returns for students," said Leah DeLorenzo, an 8th semester accounting major and president of Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting and finance fraternity on campus, "and this year we have even more preparers enrolled in VITA in hopes to continue our success and exceed last year's numbers."

After graduation there are also many cheap and easy options for filing your taxes.  There are plenty of software programs that can assist you in completing your taxes in time for the April 15th deadline. 

The Today Show money blog recently shared picks from on the best free federal tax software.  Among their picks were TaxAct, H&R Block, FreeTaxUSA and ESmart Tax.  These four programs are all free to 18-52 year olds who make less than $58,000.  Each of these programs is unique but accomplish the same goal of filing your yearly taxes trouble-free.  TaxAct offers its customers video tutorials and the ability to email tax professionals.  H&R Block provides "an expert who recommends free software points," which often eases the mind of stressed tax filers.  FreeTaxUSA is the most straightforward software and accommodates many circumstances including "self-employment, homeownership, [and] dependents."  ESmart Tax comes equipped with audit support and is backed by Liberty Tax Service, which has many stores nationwide.

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