Internal Revenue Service

IRS Program Pairs Taxpayers With Free Tax Prep


There are no more frightening letters in the alphabet in the month of April as tax time generally comes with anxiety and a desire at all costs to avoid being audited.

But, oddly enough it’s the IRS - with some help from students at Southwestern School of Law - that is taking the fear out of tax preparation, making it easy to get your taxes finished for free.

The program has existed for years, and pairs people who need someone to help them with their taxes with future tax attorneys, whose only payment is the experience they get helping you.

Turning a lecture hall on campus into a tax prep office, taxpayers gather for a crash course in finishing the annual paperwork.

"When you do someone’s taxes you are learning about their lives," says Kirsten Brown, a third-year law student, who is one of this year’s volunteers through Southwestern’s Tax Law Society.

The students are participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program run by the IRS, and everyone is a certified tax preparer.

The program is targeted to provide free tax assistance to prepare tax assistance for low income families and individuals.

The program lasts about 8 weeks each year, in February and March each year. Many of the clients are repeat customers.

"This is, I think like my third or fourth time," says Alex Chernyshev.

Chernyshev says students are getting the benefits of real life tax experiences, while he gets the expertise of bright young minds.

"If i didn’t have a place like this, everything would be rough," he says.

Jaleah Como is using it for the second year. Clients have options to have refunds mailed or deposited electronically.

"It’s free, it’s reliable and then I like the fact that it has the IRS behind it," he says.

Southwestern is not the only school participating in the program. To find free tax prep near you, visit the IRS website.

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