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UM students help with taxes

Residents seeking assistance in filing their 2015 income tax return can find free help on Tuesday and Thursday of next week at the Lafayette County-Oxford Public Library.

Law students from the University of Mississippi have been on hand every Tuesday and Thursday for the last couple of months to lend a hand to those residents who make $54,000 or less in combined annual household income.

The University of Mississippi Pro Bono Tax Assistance Project works through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and is sponsored by the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The services offered through the Pro Bono Tax Clinic are available to all Lafayette County residents, as well as Ole Miss students and scholars, including international students.

The law students administering tax services in the VITA program must pass a rigorous training and certification process to participate.

“They work very hard to achieve multiple certifications so we can serve the largest number of taxpayers,” associate professor of law Donna Davis said. “The experience is great for law students learning interviewing, analytical, research and application of the law skills. Not only will it help them on the job market, it will also make them better young lawyers.”

The law students help taxpayers file accurate and timely returns, which Davis said saves them time and worry of doing their taxes on their own. The free program saves taxpayers up to $200 in tax preparation fees that paid professionals can charge, she said.

“While the students gain useful skills from the program, what they really enjoy is interacting with the taxpayers, getting to know a little about them and helping with something that can cause people a lot of stress,” Davis said. “I particularly enjoy seeing the same taxpayers back year after year.”

The service is available from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, at the library located at 401 Bramlett Blvd. For information, contact faemmons@go.olemiss.edu.