A. Ray Olpin University Union

The University of Utah

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    Free On-Campus Tax Clinics

    Tax season is upon us! On February 25th, the Personal Money Management Center (PMMC) will begin free tax preparations for all University of Utah students, faculty, staff and community members who make under $66,000 a year. The center provides a competent and confidential atmosphere with access to accredited counseling services, quality financial education and appropriate tools for achieving lifelong successful financial outcomes. The PMMC was created in 2011 to provide financial counseling for students and uses student fees to fund its amazing program, workshops, and office. To find more information about the free tax preparations available for the campus community, Viridiana Najera, the office’s graduate assistant offers some insight through a question and answer session below.

    What is your role in the office and why did the PMMC center start the program?

    I am the graduate assistant for the PMMC, a certified volunteer tax assistant (VITA), and tax counseling for the elderly (TCE) certified through the IRS. My main task is to communicate and serve as a liaison between the PMMC, the University’s School of Business, and Beta Alpha Psi, the primary volunteers for the tax-clinics. Our whole mission is to serve students. Through any service, we want our students to get their education tax credits and have the best financial advice for their situation; we talk about everything from opening a retirement account or investments, to how to allocate your budget and pay off debt. Our mission is to educate and provide resources for students to feel financially aware. The free tax-clinics is part of our mission to aid and serve students.

    Why are filing taxes important?

    It is important because taxes can be confusing but most students will get money back if they file. That money can be pretty substantial and make a big impact in their financial situations. Personally, my parents never talked about debt and I had to learn a lot of things about my personal finances the hard way. Learning how to properly file taxes and discuss money can have a large impact on a students’ financial literacy and wellness. Having the ability to make an appropriate and smart decision regarding your income, future income, and future expenses is incredibly important.  

    What is the value of having free tax preparations?

    Paying someone to do your taxes can cost $100-$200, even more for a basic return. Even tax software online offered as “free”, are not truly free once you add in all of your deductions. Keep your refund and file for free at our clinic as long as you make under $66,000 per year. Students should be aware of the benefits and deductibles available when filing.  Many students are unaware of tax deductions they receive for being students, and you can even receive credit for paying interest on student loans. Students who pay their own tuition can generally get up to $1,000-$2,500 back from the American Opportunity Tax Credit. You can claim this by using form 1098-T which can be found on CIS and many students don’t know about this. You are able to receive money back for books, tuition, and other school expenses. Refunds could pay for a lot of textbooks next semester!

    VITA Tax Clinic Details:

    For U.S. residents, tax clinics will open February 25th – April 15th, 2019 (so get them done early!)

    Closed for Spring Break

    Clinics will be held in the Union basement computer lab. Look for PMMC tables by the computers.

    • Monday: 10:15pm – 2:15pm
    • Tuesday: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
    • Thursday: 8:00am – 12:00pm
    • Saturday: 8:00am – 12:00pm

    Walk in clinic, no appointments necessary.

    All clinics are run by volunteers by the University of Utah accounting students and Beta Alpha Psi.

    Special One Day Tax Clinics

    In an effort to reach more taxpayers, the PMMC is hosting several one-time tax clinics around campus. For these sites, bring a laptop, if you have one, and to reduce your wait time.

    • Salt Lake Institute of Religion, 1780 S Campus Drive, West Multi-Purpose Room
      • Wednesday 3/20
        • 12:00pm – 6:00pm
      • Friday 4/5
        • 12:00pm – 6:00pm
    • School of Medicine, Finance Conference Room, 1C264
      • Friday 3/22
        • 10:00am – 2:00pm
      • Wednesday 4/3
        • 10:00am – 2:00pm
    • LGBT Resource Center, Union Room 409
      • Wednesday 3/27
        • 10:00am – 2:00pm
    • DREAM Center, Annex Wing B, Room 1145
      • Wednesday 4/10
        • 12:00pm – 4:00pm

    For more information on dates, what to bring, restrictions, what to expect and any other questions visit the PMMC Website or contact Viridiana Najera at VNajera@sa.utah.edu

    Written by: Danielle Martinez

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