Students prepare taxes on campus


Student volunteers prepare taxes for Chico State and other residents. Photo credit: Ryan Corrall

Beta Alpha Psi has partnered with the IRS for the sixth year running to administer a free on campus tax preparation service program, called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Chico State accounting students will prepare taxes free of charge for anyone who makes less than $60,000 a year. Anyone, student or otherwise, can receive this by going to room 210 in the Bell Memorial Union. Their doors are open every Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will be operating from February 1 to April 4.

“I urge people to come in,” said Manvir Chahal, senior accounting major and director of VITA. “We provide the same service as anybody else.”

It is not only students that benefit from the VITA program, accounting students do quite a bit of work helping members of the Chico community, Chahal said. Still, among students there is a slight stigma about other students handling their tax forms.

“I would not trust an accounting major with my taxes,” said Sheel Doshi, senior management information systems major. “I might trust a firm once my taxes get complicated but at this stage in my life with such little income, I’d much rather do my taxes myself.”

Speaking to this concern, Chahal argues, “A lot of accounting majors go and take the IRS certification tests, pass all the tests they need, and then go on to be certified to file taxes.” He said the accounting students are well educated on IRS regulations. Students have access to these tax preparation services, free of charge. Nationally, the average fee for tax preparation has been $273 since 2014, according to the National Society of Accountants.

“That’s a whole month’s rent for some people,” said Chahal.

Others appreciate the service, but don’t necessarily need it.

“My parents do my taxes, so I don’t really need the service right now,” said Michaela Rhine, senior organizational communication major. “I think it’s really awesome that it exists though.”

As for the students who feel they don’t have time to visit VITA, there is a drop off option.

“The way it works,” said Chahal, “is that you come in on a Monday, do a quick 15 minute interview, leave your return with us. Then just return the following Monday, look it over, sign it and you’re done.”

Eric Couderc McGuire can be reached at [email protected] or @orion_news on Twitter.