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Notre Dame Students Prepare Tax Returns for Low-income Residents
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Students Prepare Tax Returns for Low-income Residents

Notre Dame College students are offering free tax preparation for low-income Cuyahoga County residents again this year.

Students at the College are positively impacting the community by filing federal and state income tax forms for those who cannot afford account services or software packages. Last year, 535 tax returns were filed on campus by the College students in an effort to save residents money—not only with free tax preparation, but also with increased refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

For the second year in a row, the accounting students will offer the tax preparation program to those who qualify—anyone making less than $50,000 a year—until April 13, the Saturday before the tax filing deadline of April 15.  Tax preparation is available on Thursdays from 2:30 to 6 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tax preparation office is located in room 128 of Regina Hall.

The service is a win-win for the students and the community. For the students, it is a chance to put their classroom education to work in the real world—and to benefit those in need. Students learn not only from the professional experience but also grow from the opportunity to give back and make a difference in their community using the skills learned at Notre Dame. And for the taxpayers, every dollar saved matters very much.

“I really like helping the clients that come to get their taxes filed. They are so happy and thankful to get their taxes done for free,” said Cassie Thomas, a senior accounting student and coordinator of the tax preparation at the College. “It’s also a great feeling to use my education from Notre Dame to help others in our neighborhood.”

Clients must make an appointment to have their taxes prepared. To do so, they must call United Way’s 2-1-1/First Call For Help. 2-1-1 is a nationwide phone number to dial for assistance with health and human services. Taxpayers, who qualify, must bring identification, any tax form sent to them—such as a W-2 or 1099, social security cards for themselves and all dependents and last year’s tax return, if the client has it. Clients can expect their appointment to last around 30 minutes.

The program has seen between 15 and 30 taxpayers each day since Feb. 7—the start of the program. Thomas, who also prepared taxes last year, is leading a team of four new preparers. She said they expect to remain busy and anticipates the number of clients to increase as the deadline filing date gets closer.

The students, all of whom have been certified by the IRS, will provide the same kind of professional service clients would expect from any other accountant. They also have the opportunity to earn internship credit for their services. 

“Last year I prepared taxes for an internship credit, but this year I’m participating because I enjoy making a difference in the lives of people in our community,” Thomas said. “I really feel like I’m making a difference. It’s very rewarding.”

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid.