Law students offer free tax prep
Liberty University School of Law is offering free tax preparation and e-filing this tax season for persons meeting certain requirements. Law students will assist in tax preparation Feb. 27-29, March 1-2 and March 5-9 from 5 to 9 p.m. and again on March 3 and March 10 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Mountain View Room at the School of Law.
Volunteer Chair of Liberty University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA) program Terrance Jones stated that individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements for the tax assistance. Participants must be United States citizens or permanent resident aliens with an annual income of less than $50,000. Restrictions also occur on the types of income acquired. The program cannot prepare business tax returns.
Liberty’s free tax preparation service is a part of the VITA program. This is the fourth year the VITA program has been a part of Liberty University School of Law and each year brings more success to the program, according to Jones.
“The number of tax returns completed has grown every year since its inception. Last year, we filed more than 200 federal and state tax returns,” Jones said.
This service is offered not only to Liberty students, but to anyone in the Lynchburg community meeting the eligibility requirements. Those who are interested will be seen on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to Jones.
Individuals planning on receiving the free tax assistance should bring their identification paperwork, tax statements, previous year’s tax return and a considerable amount of patience, Jones said. Volunteers plan to give the appropriate amount of time for the best work to be done.
“It is our goal to ensure that every person who has their taxes prepared at Liberty University School of Law has the most accurate tax return that they can possibly have,” Jones said.
Current Liberty law students volunteer as the tax preparers for the program.
According to Jones, a third year law student himself, this tax preparation program is just as important to Liberty University School of Law as it is to the ones requiring assistance. They believe it is important to use their talents and strengths in order to reach out and help the Lynchburg community in any way possible.
“Consistent with the mission of the law school to produce Christian attorneys, we feel that it is our responsibility to volunteer our skills to those in need. This program’s goal is to provide a volunteer opportunity for law students and to provide services to the Lynchburg community,” Jones said.
Senior Dianna Baker fully appreciates the volunteer tax preparation service Liberty University School of Law is providing and believes this is incredibly beneficial for the School of Law.
“As a pre-law student, this program sets the Liberty University School of Law apart in my mind because they live out the principles of community service instead of just talking about it,” Baker said.
Liberty University founded its School of Law in 2004.