BHSU accounting students respond to increased need for tax prep assistance

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, March 27, 2015/Categories: 2015








           BHSU income tax students learn new software to assist community members with free income tax preparation through the IRS&rsquo VITA program.   



Business students at Black Hills State University are responding to an increase this year in the number of people utilizing their free tax assistance services.  BHSU partners with the IRS through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to offer free tax help. The BHSU students gain valuable experience that often influences their choice of career.

Liz Diers, assistant professor of accounting at BHSU, believes the increase in those seeking the students&rsquo tax preparation services this year may be due to recent law changes, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"Some people who normally would&rsquove completed their tax return on their own are using our services to ensure they receive accurate tax information regarding the ACA.  We&rsquore also completing more returns this year due to word-of-mouth.  It&rsquos a great service, it&rsquos free, it helps the students learn and it helps our community members," said Diers.

The free service is available to people who meet income guidelines, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers.

Aaron Huang, a BHSU student from Rapid City, says volunteering with the VITA program is helping to prepare him to take the Certified Professional Accountancy (CPA) exam later this year.

"During fall semester we learn the skills and then in spring we&rsquore able to practice tax preparation through volunteering with the VITA program," said Huang.  "It&rsquos a great opportunity and helps with gaining experience before actually going on into a career."

Last year BHSU students completed almost 200 tax returns and they expect to exceed that number this year, saving taxpayers&rsquo money in tax preparation fees and bringing dollars back into the community through maximizing refunds.  

"The best part about the VITA program is watching students gain these skills in the classroom and then witnessing the confidence they gain after completing those first tax returns.  The confidence is worth more than the technical knowledge.  And learning to volunteer, the value of that is a great thing," said Diers.

To learn more about the VITA program through BHSU, contact Diers at 605-642-6002 or


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