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Students Volunteer To Provide Free Tax Assistance

Purdue students are volunteering their time with local organizations to ensure low-income taxpayers receive as many tax benefits as possible.

The Bison Financial Group and Lafayette Urban Ministry are working with students in the Krannert School of Management to ensure tax filings are available for local Lafayette residents. The volunteers begin working the third week of January and continue to mid-April.

Julie Bradford, a senior in the Krannert School of Management, said the service she provides is a simple one, and she likes spending her time in a practical way that relates to her major.

“We do the basic tax return,” Bradford said. “We are certified though, which is a simple volunteer certification, and we are also all accounting students. I don’t plan on becoming a tax accountant, but this will help me in the future if I decide to volunteer more as a professional accountant.”

“It typically takes a half hour to an hour for someone to file their taxes,” Bradford said. “People tend to know already what to bring in but some don’t. You need things like your Social Security card, driver’s license and W-2 forms. Try not to wait until the last second to file them either.”

Patti O’Callaghan, director of social justice at the Lafayette Urban Ministry, said students have helped the county secure thousands of dollars for low-income earners that would otherwise be left unclaimed.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit is the federal program that lifts more people out of poverty than any other program,” O’Callaghan said. “It is a tax break that is a hand-up and not a hand-out.”

“We see there are people coming to us less for programs that they need help with because they are receiving their tax return,” O’Callaghan said.

[ Thanks to CURTIS SPICER City Editor, Purdue Exponent ]