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GVSU Hosts Free Tax Assistance Program

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Another tax season is upon us.  And for those needing tax help, Grand Valley State University’s Seidman School of Business may be the place to go.  There’s free help and assistance being offered by students and faculty, who are IRS certified, to those who qualify.

Grand Valley State University is once again a host site for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or VITA program through the United Way. Michael Heinisch is the GVSU Student VITA Coordinator.  He’s one of a number of Accounting students, along with faculty who help with the free tax return preparation and filing.

“Our typical client is the individual or family that makes 56-thousand or less per year. So, that’s a pretty broad ranging category of people who are eligible for the VITA program.  We really serve the people in the local Grand Rapids area who are in that income threshold.”

In addition to the VITA program, Heinisch says they also help seniors with their Tax Care for the Elderly or TCE program as well:

“So that’s another big focus area, we help a lot of people who have retirement and social security income. People who don’t go to see a paid preparer.”

Another big part of the VITA program is serving those who have English as a second language.  The GVSU site does not offer that assistance but it can be found at many VITA locations.   Heinisch says working in this program is a win-win for students.  They help residents and get hands on work experience.

‘It’s incredibly valuable experience.  Instead of just hitting the books all the time, it’s a great way to get out and engage with people. Because that’s what the profession is all about, it’s about way more than just the numbers. It’s about being able to engage when someone is asking questions sitting across from you.”

Henisch says the program runs out of the Seidman School of Business located downtown.  They’re open on Saturdays until April 11th from 10 am until 4 pm.  You can make an appointment by calling the United Way’s 2-1-1 number and they will help you set it up.