College students offer free tax filing services

WATERTOWN, SD (KELO) — It’s tax season for Kaitlyn Fisher and some of her classmates at Lake Area Technical College.

Second-year accounting students in the school’s financial services program offer free basic tax preparation to the community.

“I was a little nervous at first, but now that I’ve gotten used to it. It’s getting easier and easier to talk to taxpayers,” said LATC student Kaitlyn Fisher.

Fisher helped Linda Stanton, who has been coming to the tax site for years.

“Oh, they’re so wonderful here, and it’s free. The price can’t be beat, but I mean they do an amazing job. The students and instructors are just amazing,” said Linda Stanton of Watertown.

Services are offered through the IRS’ Voluntary Tax Assistance Program or VITA.

Students who prepare returns must meet certain requirements beforehand, including passing an IRS certification test.

Last year, Lake Area Tech students filed over 350 free returns.

“It’s beneficial for students because there’s absolutely no way for them to get that kind of real-life experience in the classroom,” said LATC financial services instructor Lorna Hofer.

For Fisher, it’s more she can add to her skills as she hopes to work at an accounting firm after college.

“It gives me real customer service experience and not just studying from a textbook and learning how to do it,” Fisher said.

The walk-in site is open Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. until March 12.

The service is intended for people eligible for the VITA program, including those who typically earn less than $58,000.

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