LEWISTON, Idaho – Students in the Lewis-Clark State College Business & Computer Science Division are offering free assistance with 2021 tax returns to help Lewiston-Clarkston Valley residents who cannot afford to pay for help with their returns.
The students are participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which is an Idaho state-run program that is sponsored through the IRS. The students are trained in using material from the IRS, including IRS software, to complete tax forms. The students went through LC State professor Randy Eriksen’s tax course prior to this semester. The students then take part in an IRS clinic and pass the beginners, intermediate and advanced IRS-sponsored exams.
The students are offering tax assistance on Tuesdays through April 15, at 5-7 p.m. in Thomas Jefferson Hall, Room 8, on the LC State campus. Those seeking help will need to bring all of their tax documents, such as their W-2, 1098, and 1099 forms, along with their tax ID number. A photo ID is required. No appointment is necessary for tax help.
The college’s COVID-19 protocols will be followed on campus, which can be found on the college’s Coronavirus web page.
“The VITA course allows students to gain practical experience of some of the tax issues that they cover in their Tax Law I course covering individual taxation,” Eriksen said. “Additionally it allows them a chance to give back to the community and get involved in what I hope will be a lifetime of service to the community. The experience leaves the students with not only a better understanding of the tax issues but that gaining the client’s trust is a very important part of being a good accountant.
“It is amazing to see the transformation in the students after a few weeks of volunteering. At first they are very hesitant, worried that they might make a mistake, or just too shy to try to get the clients to open up about their respective tax issues. After a couple of weeks and a few dozen tax returns most are arguing over who gets to do the more complicated returns. The confidence it builds in both their abilities to complete the returns efficiently but also the confidence in their communication skills in getting the clients to open up.”
For more information contact Randy Eriksen at 208-792-2426 or [email protected].