Oh the joys of tax season. The stress. The worry. The aggravation. People tend to dread the first few months of the year because that infamous Apr. 15 deadline, but is it only adults who worry? According to numerous college students around the area, many parents claim them as dependents on their own taxes, and in turn do their taxes for them. Though taxes may not be an issue for some students, it may not be a bad idea to learn how to do them now for future use.
Rodney Kornegaye, an accountant in Boston who was a business major from the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, said while he was in school he took a class about tax preparation in his senior year.
“It was one of the most rewarding classes I took because I now have the knowledge to accurately do my taxes for my house and three apartment buildings” Kornegaye said.
He also said that though colleges today may not offer such a class, many tax preparers around your state are willing to work with you. Kornegaye is now an accountant, but he also has a side job preparing taxes for many people in Brockton, Mass., an area outside of Boston.
Soon enough the day will come when parents no longer want to be in charge of their children’s finances and when that happens students shouldn’t be left traumatized by the experience.
“The first time I did my taxes on my own I was nervous because the forms were so daunting. I was worried I had messed them up and would end up audited,” said Chad Bliss, a recent College of St. Joseph graduate.
Jake Richards, a junior and history major at Castleton State College, said he and his parents do his taxes together because “it’s a valuable thing to learn now, since you will have to do them for the rest of your life.”
Taxes can be hard for anyone doing them on their own, but especially for college students with other priorities. Having someone help them along the way, whether a human or a computer, can help ease the tension. There are also some resources available that can lessen the burden of stress and apprehension that can plague a student.
The Internal Revenue Service has an office location in Mendon off of Rt. 4 east toward Killington. The small, one room office features a wall full of forms, sheets and instructions, but there’s no need to worry if you’re not sure what form you need. There is always an on-duty attendant who can help gather the right forms depending upon marital status, job status and applicable deductions.
Doing taxes the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ method doesn’t suit everyone’s likings, which is why many banks offer online versions of tax programs for download through their Web sites. One local bank, Heritage Family Credit Union, offers TurboTax OnlineSM Free edition to its members.
And stores such as Staples and Office Depot sell CD versions of tax programs such as Tax Cut and TurboTax in their stores ranging in price from $19.99 to more than $100.00. There is also an H & R Block office inside of the Sears located at the Diamond Run Mall in Rutland that offers accountants who can prepare and file your taxes. Though that service is backed with the guarantee that your taxes are done right, it tends to be pricey.
“I do my taxes on my own with the help of Turbo Tax and I find it very easy to do. I would definitely recommend it to any college student doing their taxes for the first time,” said Castleton senior Michael Massorone, a business administration major.
This alternative way may prove to be easier than the paper forms, which can be confusing and troublesome. The online tax program prompts you step-by-step to fill in your information and automatically does the math for you. There is less guessing and a smaller margin for error.
Natalie Clark and Christin Louras, both students at Green Mountain College, agreed that taxes are the last thing they want to think about with their heavy course loads and basketball schedule.
“I’m going to have my father do them for as long as I can. I hate the word taxes. I just like getting the money back,” Clark said.
There are also benefits to getting taxes done early in the year. One is that once they are done they no longer loom over like a black cloud. The stress is gone and the year can go on with one less thing to worry about. Another advantage is a quick return of rebate money that comes in very handy for many college students.
“I always save mine and put it toward my car loan so I don’t have to worry about it for a few months. It’s always spent before I get it!” said Nicole McAllister, a Castleton senior.