Volunteers assist filing

Beginning this Saturday, international students can attend a free tax filling session provided by the Houston chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

The sessions will occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 26, March 19, March 26, April 2 and April 9 in the University Center Bayou Room 202.

“To date we have 32 volunteers, with the majority being accounting students from the University of Houston. Others are CPA’s who coordinate the site and review each [tax] return prepared,” said Judith Butcher, CPE Director for the Houston CPA Society.

Houston-based tax and bankruptcy attorney and CPA, E. Rhett Buck, will lead accounting students and volunteer CPA’s in this year’s effort. Buck has been the Site Manager for this organization, which has helped over 230 students with their taxes.

“The volunteers are typically half CPA’s and half students. The CPA’s come from various Houston firms,” Buck said.

Tax filing has changed this year and tax preparers are being faced with new rules, including identification if the preparer is not the one being taxed. Taxpayers now have until April 18 to file.

“I know all the hard work that must have been put into setting this up,” Houston-based CPA and recent graduate Justin Rubio said. “There are hundreds of people who donate their time and it is a great testament to the true spirit of Houstonians ‘paying it forward.’”

International students can bring W-2 forms from any employment they may have, in addition to any other tax deducting paperwork to receive help with their taxes

“I have been at UH for 3 years now and had no idea this program existed,” said Pedro Berizzbeitia, an engineering student from Venezuela. “I will definitely go and get help with this year’s taxes.”

To qualify for this free service, one must be a non-resident student. If you do not qualify, there are referral services through the organization which are available through their website.

“Even though I do not qualify as a non-resident, I am going to attend the March 19 event to talk with someone about a referral,” said Sean Vensuela, a criminal justice graduate. “It is hard, in a city this big, to find an accountant who you can trust. Getting a referral from this group would make me feel more secure in my choice.”

Though UH is holding this area’s event, it is not solely open to UH students. HCC, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University and any other university students are welcome to participate.

The Houston CPA Society is teaming up with Neighborhood Centers, Inc. for the 13th year. This chapter is the third largest CPA chapter in the country, made up of more than 8,200 members in Houston and surrounding areas.

Interested students must make an appointment by calling (713) 743-5065.

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