Tax help available to students
Despite being adult or young adult scholars, one thing most students still rely on from parents or professionals is their taxes.’
Luckily, UH has a plan to assist international students with this daunting task.’
The Volunteer Tax Income Assistance program is designed to provide aid to international students who are either doing their taxes independently or who just need advice.’
UH was approved as a VITA site in 1998, and since then the program has provided much needed tax help to international students on campus.
‘ ‘Our tax codes are very complicated and international students aren’t that familiar with the tax laws, so this help is very beneficial to them and they express that to my office on a regular basis,’ Anita Gaines, director of International Student and Scholar Services said.
The program is only available on specific Saturdays. The program’s small availability is due to the limited number of Houston area tax professionals. The last two dates students can take advantage of this professional assistance are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 4 and 11.
VITA sites are located around Houston, but UH sessions are held in the Bayou Room, University Center. Students will need to go with all documentations, including passports, paycheck stubs, and tuition forms or records.
The deadline to complete income tax returns is April 15, and time is of significant importance. For any help from the Welcome Center, it is best to go early to beat the lines and 40 minute waits.’
For non-international students, tax assistance is still fairly easy to find. Aside from the many businesses that will assist or completely do it for you for a nice fee, there are some other programs provided that cost little to nothing.’
There is also Internet tax sites you can go to off the Internal Revenue Service Web site, where you can fill out an online tax form completely free of charge.
The Houston Public Library holds a free tax help program in conjunction with the AARP and the IRS.’ The program is held only at participating Houston public libraries and is intended for low to moderate income and single or joint filers.’
The program is also available for the elderly, non-English speaking and physically challenged taxpayers who cannot afford paid professional assistance.
All students should submit their taxes, since tax information is required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as well it being a potential source of refund money. Given the state of the economy, education is absolutely worth investing in, and any financial help in doing so is invaluable. ‘
The deadline for submitting taxes is soon, so file early to avoid the rush, and do not be daunted by complicated tax rules. There is help out there for you. ‘