By HALEY ANDERSON/Montana State News

Graduate students from Montana State University’s College of Business are offering help preparing tax returns. Students and individuals from the community are encouraged to use this free service to prepare their tax returns.

The hope is that the community will benefit from properly done taxes, and the students will benefit from participating in a lifelike scenario while still receiving supervision from a professional. All student volunteers are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

MSU will hold these help sessions in Reid Hall room 302 and those seeking help will be served on a first come basis.  The help sessions are only for students or those with an income of less than $58,000 for the last fiscal year.

Students will be available at the sessions to prepare federal and state income tax returns as well as answer any related questions. Those interested should come prepared with their 2011 W-2 forms, other necessary tax documents, social security card and current driver’s license. While not required, interested parties should also bring a copy of their 2010 tax returns if available.

Charles Thorton, a resident in Bozeman is giving the program a try.

“I heard good things about these sessions through word of mouth, post tax-season,” he said. “I dislike using the free online services, because they are known to rip you off. It’s just nice to put a face to the filing.”

Each student volunteer has passed an IRS tax preparation exam, completed a tax course and received special training prior to the sessions.

The sessions will be held from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28; March 1, 6, 20, 27 and 29; and April 3.

Edited by Megan Higgins.

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