The only thing worse than paying your taxes is trying to figure out how much you owe — or paying someone to figure out how much you owe. For low income taxpayers, the burden can be even greater. Without being able to shell out for expensive tax prep, low income families may miss out on hundreds of dollars of deductions. Unless, that is, they get some free help from local college students via Towson University’s tax prep program.
On Saturdays between now and tax day, students in Towson’s College of Business ad Economics will help prepare taxes for low-income individuals and families. (Individuals have to earn less than $25,000, and families must have combined incomes below $49,000 to qualify). The students, each of whom has pledged between 20 and 90 hours of service, have been specially trained to take on the task.
Really, it’s a win-win situation. The students get hands-on experience, while community members save money. “Our clients are so excited about the money they’re saving and what it will mean for their lives that they’re literally tearing up,” says program director (and Towson economics professor) Melissa Groves. “You walk away with a really nice feeling. And I’m seeing clients return from last year. If they come back, it means that they trust us and that says a lot about our students and the quality of their work.”