OPINION: Helpful tax resources for students

Spring is upon us again – crazy Kansas weather and all. With Spring comes a critical time of year: tax season. Unfortunately, taxes can be pretty confusing for even the most experienced filer. But there has to be some help out there for us, right? 

WSU students have a few free tax preparation options: The Office of Student Money Management (OSMM), The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and United Way of the Plains are all solid options.

The Office of Student Money Management (OSMM) is located in Neff Hall. In addition to providing free access to tax preparation resources, OSMM can also aid in overall financial security during a student’s time at WSU. OSMM offers basic financial services like financial counseling, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) assistance, and guidance to external resources for more detailed, in-depth topics. 

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is run by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for those who make less than $56,000 per year. VITA sites can be found across the Wichita metro area. VITA will assist in tax preparation and filing for free to those who meet the income criteria listed above. 

The United Way of the Plains also provides free tax services to those earning less than $58,000 a year. You can dial 2-1-1 to make an appointment or check out their online services at https://www.unitedwayplains.org/income/free-tax-prep/.

Before embarking on one of these routes to file your taxes, it is important to think through a few things. The first being your dependency status, and the second what documents you will need. 

Some college students are considered dependents of their parents, which can complicate filing as dependents cannot claim tax credits for themselves. 

The next thing to consider would be what documents you will need. VITA has a list of documents it will need to file your taxes. Still, additional documents could be necessary, such as receipts for paying quarterly tax payments (small business owners or applicable individuals) or receipts for tax payments.

Whatever route you decide to take, remember you don’t have to go it alone. Why not consult the experts?