Students confused by IRS form names and numbers may be able to stop relying on their parents for tax help this year due to the implementation of a new Student Government (SG) financial literacy initiative.
SG is sponsoring an in-person help session to help USF students and employees prepare their taxes on March 24 and April 3 in the Marshall Student Center room 2308.
The help session is part of an initiative started by former SG Vice President Alec Waid and former SG Chief Financial Officer Ryan Soscia to improve financial literacy among the student body.
According to SG Solicitor General Rogers, the initiative is designed to help students who are unfamiliar with the income tax process and prepare them to do their own taxes in the future.
Representatives of the IRS and tax preparation professionals will be available to assist and educate students on the process.
Rogers is executing the project as a means of accomplishing the goals of SG’s executive branch.
“(Soscia) decided that, you know, we needed to get students more so educated on financial literacy,” Rogers said. “That's really what it fell under. So, it was supposed to be a financial literacy project and attached to that was having students get assistance with their spring tax aid.”
Tax preparers specifically trained to assist international students will be available at the March 24 session.
“We also specifically have preparers who come for international students because it takes a special kind of training for them,” Rogers said. “On top of that, it is hard to find people who are proficient enough to prepare taxes for international students.”
According to Sydni Schlosser, a freshman double majoring in cellular and molecular biology and qualitative economics, some students handle their own taxes, but see the value in holding a session like this.
“I think it's very helpful,” Schlosser said. “I myself know how to do them, but I think that the first time I had to do them, I was freaked out. Luckily I had parents who could help me with that, but I don't know that everybody has that. So, I think it'd be a great thing because a lot of times, I think people have their first job when they get to college.”
Nick Jackson, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, said this session would be useful, as he is not as familiar with the actual preparation process.
“I know the information,” Jackson said. “I think I know how it works from the W-2, but I'm not exactly fluent on actually doing the taxes themselves.”
Necessary documents depend on the student, but most students will need W-2 forms from their employer and their Social Security number.
“They bring their information and there'll be a partner there for them,” Rogers said. “As long as they have their information, they'll be set to get assistance.”
“You come to the computer lab on campus and you meet with the preparers,” Rogers said. “They sit down and do everything with you, explain everything to you: exactly what you're putting in and what you're getting back.”
The help session on the March 24 is the largest event with the most preparers. Rogers said she hopes to attract a large number of students to enlarge the impact of this initiative.
“On the 24th, we're expecting the majority of our preparers to come, so we really want a big turnout because we have a whole bunch of people in line to come on campus that day,” Rogers said.