Student volunteers offer tax help in Mishawaka - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Student volunteers offer tax help in Mishawaka

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W-2s are being handed out and that means tax season is here. Students of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College are trying to make the process of doing your taxes a little bit easier. Volunteers from both schools were at the Spencer Gallery in the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library. They were offering free service for federal and state tax preparation.

"I can't afford and this is a big, big help having it done for free," Julie Kalus said who was waiting for her turn.

The service is offered to taxpayers who earned $40,000 or less in 2013. Unemployed taxpayers were also offered the service as long as they made $40,000 or less before collecting taxable unemployment benefits. Saint Mary's Assistant Professor in Accounting John Cergnul says this service is goes further than just being free.

"The Internal Revenue Code is about 10,000 pages long and there's probably 300 or 400 changes every year so it's very difficult to keep up," Cergnul said.        

Registration began at 9:00a.m. and assistance was offered on a first come, first served-basis. The taxpayer would enter the room when their number was called and was directed to a group of students. The students are all accounting majors at Notre Dame or Saint Mary's. They have all taken semester of an individual income tax course as well as a special course from the Internal Revenue Service.  

 "The students are very well prepared," Cergnul said. "They're a little scared at first but they're pretty prepared to do these kinds of tax returns." 

There were several people in attendance who have used this service repeatedly. One of those people was George Jarvis.  "They did a good job," Jarvis said.  "The price was right so I come the next year, the following year and here I am again." 

There will be additional sessions held on March 29th, April 5th and 12th. All of these services will be held from 1:00-4:00p.m. at the Spencer Gallery.

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