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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 13:01

Law students, Legal Services for Students assisting with free tax preparation

Written by  University of Kansas
As tax season gets underway, two University of Kansas groups are offering free tax preparation services for those who qualify.

KU Law students with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will prepare returns for taxpayers who are residents of Kansas, Missouri or Illinois; who earn less than $54,000 per household per year; and who do not itemize their deductions. The program runs from Feb. 15 through April 17.

Legal Services for Students (LSS) is also offering free tax assistance through a VITA grant from the Internal Revenue Service. Any U.S. resident taxpayer may prepare and electronically file their federal and state tax returns for free via the LSS website if their income was $64,000 or less in 2016. International students and staff at KU may also prepare their taxes using free software with no income limit.

Last year, KU Law students prepared about 225 federal and state tax returns. LSS directly prepared 183 returns in 2016 and assisted more than 1,700 individuals in preparing their own returns through the tax workshops at the Budig computer lab. View the workshop schedule (PDF). For more information about tax assistance provided by Legal Services for Students, contact the office at 785-864-5665 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

“The tax preparation workshops are a great way for students and staff to learn about properly preparing and filing their own tax returns,” said Jo Hardesty, director of Legal Services for Students. “LSS tax attorneys and KU Law student interns are available at the workshops to assist and answer any questions that may arise.”

The VITA program operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and the number of preparers varies with the site. Those seeking assistance are encouraged to arrive near the start of each session. Taxpayers should bring proof of identification and all relevant documentation, including proof of income, expenditures and health insurance-related documents. For more information, call 785-864-9227.

Law students Andrew Jorgenson and Jordan Haas are coordinating this year’s VITA program, with about 25 other law students helping to prepare returns. Stephen Mazza, dean of the law school and professor of tax-related law, serves as the VITA faculty coordinator.

“VITA provides great value to the community and KU students,” Jorgenson said. “It gives KU Law students practical experience with tax law and customer service while also helping individuals who seek an alternative to paying a professional or risking error in preparing their own returns.”

Taxes are due on Tuesday, April 18, instead of Saturday, April 15, this year due to the federal observance of Emancipation Day.

Spring 2017 VITA Schedule:

Mondays

·         6-8:45 p.m., Green Hall, Wheat Law Library, 3rd Floor Computer Lab, 1535 W. 15th St.

Wednesdays

·         3-5:45 p.m., Green Hall, Wheat Law Library, 3rd Floor Computer Lab, 1535 W. 15th St.

Thursdays

·         Noon-2 p.m., Penn House, 1035 Pennsylvania St.*

·         3-4:45 p.m., Ballard Center, 708 Elm St.**

·         5:15-6:30 p.m., Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority Resident Services, 1600 Haskell Ave., Apt. 187

Saturdays

·         10-11:45 a.m., Green Hall, Wheat Law Library, 3rd Floor Computer Lab, 1535 W. 15th St.

* Sessions will be held at Penn House on Feb. 16, March 2, March 16, April 6 and April 13. Sessions run Wednesday, Feb. 15, through Monday, April 17. No sessions will be held on Feb. 22 (Wednesday), Feb. 27 (Monday), or March 18-26 (University of Kansas spring break).

** Sessions will be held at Ballard Center on Feb. 23, March 9, March 30, April 6 and April 13.