Foregoing a taxing headache

It may be crunch time for tax procrastinators to file their 2001 returns to the Internal Revenue Service, but some students say they’re not worried because their parents have already filed for them.

“I just give them all my W-2s and they file my return,” said sophomore Kim Jaskot. She added that although her parents file the paperwork they allow her to keep whatever money comes back.

Freshman Ronda Bostick said since she hasn’t worked this year she has no income to report, but in the past her parents have filed her returns.

“I don’t know much about filing taxes,” she said. When it comes time to cut the apron strings and file on her own, however, Bostick said she does have a plan.

“I will be hitting up H&R Block or something like that to help me file,” she said.

Senior Michelle Spindel echoed Bostick’s solution.

“It’s going to be a little tough (to file taxes),” she said. “I have a couple of friends who are accounting majors and I’m definitely going to be calling them up.”

But while Bostick plans on filing her taxes with a private company, Spindel said she would feel more comfortable dealing with someone she knew.

“They’d have to be able to put up with my stupid questions,” she said.

George Madinger, office manager for H&R Block at the University Mall, said the biggest thing students need to know when they first file their own taxes is whether their parents claim them as dependents.

“We have students come in and they say their parents haven’t claimed them, then it turns out that they actually had,” Madinger said.

Madinger added that college students in general are not even required to file their taxes.

“Most young people don’t really make enough money to have to file,” he said.

Madinger said anyone who is single and younger than 65 is not required to file unless they make more than $7,450 a year (married couples filing jointly can earn up to $13,400 before being required to file).

But this doesn’t mean that students who aren’t required to file shouldn’t file, Madinger said.

“The reason they would want to file is so they can get their withholding money back,” he said.

Junior Delfin Carreon said that he filed his own taxes this year for the first time, and it wasn’t as difficult as he had expected.

“I did mine online,” he said.

Carreon bought a program called Turbo Tax which allowed him to complete the return without having to file any paperwork.

“You fill it all out and it sends it for you,” he said. He added that while the program had to be purchased, the filing itself was free of charge.

Madinger said that his office is also able to file student’s taxes electronically, and it is generally the best way to go.

“We recommend it right from the beginning,” he said, “For the simple reason that it’s so much quicker. In fact, you can walk out with a check that day.”

Paper filing, according to Madinger, can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks before a return check arrives.

Bostick said that when she does end up filing her own taxes, she will try to have them done well before the deadline. “I don’t like to procrastinate,” she said. “You have plenty of time to get those things in.”

Spindel added that although she doesn’t plan on putting her taxes off either, she could understand why some people might. “I think taxes are like finals,” she said. “You know you have them coming up, but you put off the work anyway.”

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