Tax preparation tips college students need to know

Personal financial planning student Michael Danner talks about the Tax Preparation Help program.
The University of Missouri's Office for Financial Success sits in Stanley Hall. It is a place that students can go to get help with filling out tax forms and working through other financial issues.

The Maneater sat down with senior Michael Danner, a student in the personal financial planning department and College of Human and Environmental Sciences, to talk about the Tax Preparation Help program. MU holds the program annually to help students and residents deal with their tax returns.

Q: What is Tax Preparation Help?

A: Tax Preparation is a free program that we offer here on the University of Missouri campus, and we provide assistance for individual income tax returns to individuals that living around this area as well as students and teachers and faculty members at University of Missouri … Here we deal with helping them file their taxes. This is not an educational thing where we sit people down and explain how can they do by themselves. We actually do that for them. But we can provide educational benefits while we are interacting with clients that we are providing service for.

Q: What kind of materials should students bring to get the service?

A: The items we require students to have are some form of photo identification, whether that would be a driver license or even a passport. A social security card or have their social security number memorized as well as forms like W-2 and 1098-T, etc.

A W-2 is typically mailed to the individual by the people who employ them or sometimes they are able to access it online as well. 1098-T is a form that sent to you by the University of Missouri and it is basically an account summary of your student's’ individual account graduate and undergraduate. And that is has to do with tuition, book purchases that you have purchase on campus … Additional materials typically involve health insurance. If a student or an individual has health insurance they bought from the marketplace, they get a form from United States government that they need to bring. But basically anything they think might involve with their tax return, they should bring all of those items. And we are able to sought through with them.

Q: What are the most common problems college kids encounter when they are dealing with tax?

A: I would say the most common problem that we have is not necessarily anybody’s fault. It is just that most people aren’t educated enough to understand what different things they are eligible for, like different tax credits, etc. And the preparers here as well as quality insurance people are able to provide that kind of educational benefit to them in that regard, so that they know in the future what they are and are not qualified for and what they can expect to see in the returns.

Q: For students who missed the tax preparation help, how should they get the same help?

A: There are different programs. They can buy TurboTax, downloading the app or the computer program, or go to H&R Block. But, individuals need to pay to get the full service.

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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