UNI accounting students offer free tax return preparation and e-filing

UNI accounting students offer free tax return preparation and e-filing

UNI accounting students offer free tax return preparation and e-filingUniversity of Northern Iowa (UNI) accounting students are giving back to their local community by providing free income tax assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Assistance preparing tax returns will be available on Wednesdays from Feb. 15 through April 5 (excluding March 15 due to Spring Break). Returns for international students and scholars will be prepared beginning Wednesday, March 8.

Preparation assistance will be available  6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, with registration taking place in room 223 of the Curris Business Building on the UNI campus. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m. and closes at 7:30 p.m.

Those interested in the program, with income of $60,000 or less, are encouraged to arrive early to complete the intake/interview process and allow students sufficient time to complete their return. Only a limited number of returns will be completed each night.

Appointments may be scheduled by leaving a message at 319-273-2968 with the best time to call back or sending an email request to cathalene.bowler@uni.edu. A representative will call or email within 24 to 48 hours to schedule the appointment.

This year, UNI is incorporating a drop-off service. Taxpayers who are not able to stay while their taxes are prepared may create a customer portal and scan their documents to the portal. A preparer will contact the taxpayer via Zoom to communicate during the tax preparation and quality review process. Further instructions will be provided at the time of drop-off.

VITA was established by the Internal Revenue Service to help low-income taxpayers who may find it difficult to pay for tax preparation services. The program also provides accounting students with an experiential learning opportunity to apply the skills they have learned.

Our accounting students are prepared to confidently complete federal and Iowa tax returns for electronic filing. Our comprehensive tax course has equipped them with the knowledge, skill set and resources needed to ensure accurate filings that meet all requirements of IRS certification standards. The students are also required to complete IRS certification testing at the advanced level prior to completing tax returns.

Taxpayers seeking assistance should bring: 

  • Social security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • Valid photo identification; 
  • A copy of last year’s Federal and Iowa tax returns
  • Form W-2, "Wage and Tax Statement" from each employer
  • Forms 1099, for such things as interest, dividends or retirement payments
  • A list of other income and expenses
  • Form 1098-E, student loan interest statement
  • Form 1098-T, tuition payment statement (also bring institution billing statement)
  • Form 1095A if health insurance was purchased through the Marketplace
  • Banking information (account and routing numbers) for the automatic deposit of refund
  • All other information pertinent to your 2022 tax return.

A Veridian Credit Union representative will be on-site to open accounts for taxpayers who would need a checking/savings account, which can be used for the direct deposit option.

For more information, please visit the VITA website or call the UNI Department of Accounting at 319-273-2394.