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Ashley Hocking
School of Law

Law students, Legal Services for Students offer free tax prep services

Tue, 02/05/2019

LAWRENCE – Are you a Kansas, Missouri or Illinois resident? Do you make less than $54,000 per year? Do you not itemize your deductions? If the answer to each of these questions is “yes,” then you are eligible to receive free tax preparation services.

Each spring, law students from the University of Kansas provide free federal and state tax preparation services to those who qualify through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This year’s program runs from Feb. 20 through April 15.

Legal Services for Students (LSS) is also offering free tax assistance through a VITA grant from the Internal Revenue Service. U.S. resident taxpayers may prepare and electronically file their federal and state tax returns for free via the LSS website if their income was $66,000 or less in 2018. International students and international staff at KU may also prepare their taxes using free software with no income limit.

Last year, KU law students prepared 275 federal and state tax returns. LSS directly prepared 183 returns in 2018 and assisted 960 individuals in preparing their own returns through the tax workshops at the KU computer lab. For more information about tax assistance provided by Legal Services for Students, contact the office at 785-864-5665 or legals@ku.edu.

“Free tax preparation workshops run by Legal Services for Students provide a great learning opportunity for students and staff,” said Jo Hardesty, director of Legal Services for Students. “Under the direction of LSS tax attorneys and law student interns, our university community is empowered to take ownership of the complicated tax filing process. Workshop staff are available to assist, problem-solve and answer questions as they arise.”

The law school’s VITA program operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and the number of preparers varies with the site. Those seeking assistance are encouraged to arrive near the start of each session. Taxpayers should bring proof of identification and all relevant documentation, including proof of income, expenditures and health insurance-related documents. For more information, call 785-864-9227.

Law students Karlee Canaday and Tara Mollhagen are coordinating this year’s VITA program, with about 20 other law students helping to prepare returns. Stephen Mazza, dean of the law school and professor of tax-related law, serves as the VITA faculty coordinator.

“The VITA program is invaluable to the community and KU Law students,” Canaday said. “The program gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on, practical experience with tax law. It also helps members of the community seeking an alternative to paying a professional or risking error in preparing their own returns.”

Spring 2019 VITA Schedule

Monday

6-8:45 p.m.

Green Hall, Wheat Law Library, 3rd Floor Computer Lab, 1535 W. 15th St.

Wednesday

3-5:45 p.m.

Green Hall, Wheat Law Library, 3rd Floor Computer Lab, 1535 W. 15th St.

Thursday

5:15-6:30 p.m.

Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority Resident Services, 1600 Haskell Ave., Apt. 187

Saturday

9-11:45 a.m.

Green Hall, Wheat Law Library, 3rd Floor Computer Lab, 1535 W. 15th St.

Sessions run Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Monday, April 15. No sessions will be held Feb. 25 (Monday) or March 9-17 (University of Kansas spring break).

Taxes are due Monday, April 15.

 



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