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Tax clinic hopes to help students through tax season

Most people don’t like doing taxes and everybody has to do them, but what about people who have no idea how to do their taxes?

Students at Loyalist College who have trouble with their taxes are in luck come March. The accounting program at Loyalist is starting its annual tax clinic on March 5. The clinic will help students complete their taxes and take them through the steps to fill out income tax.

Connor Hamilton, a third year accounting student heading the marketing side of the clinic this year, said that a common problem is students not being sure of what forms they need, and working around the confusing language that comes with income taxes.

The clinic last year didn’t have any marketing because they were worried about getting too many applicants, said Hamilton. This year though the advertising is working.

“We didn’t have this marketing part last year so we really didn’t have that many returns,” said Hamilton. “Since then with doing this marketing part, we’ve seen a huge increase as far as people asking about it and getting involved.”

The tax clinic is reaching out to raise awareness before they open in March. According to Carol Coupland, an accounting professor at Loyalist, they had around 40 to 50 tax returns last year, with no advertising. They are reaching for around 200 this time around.

Coupland said she knows that students are a bit wary of taxes, but says that’s what the clinic is there for.

“Everybody has to file taxes and most students will want to file taxes because there’s money to be had if you have expenses like paying rent and tuition,” said Coupland. “And most students ­­– because they’re students – don’t have a lot of income. If you know what you’re doing they’re pretty straightforward but if you don’t we’ll do it for you and you’ll get your cheques in the mail.”

Matthew Murphy, a first year photojournalism student said that he has “no clue how to do taxes,” and would be okay using a service like the tax clinic. He thinks other students should as well.

“Once I am required to do my taxes, I would use a service to do them for me, for free, yeah,” said Murphy. “I think it would be helpful for other students, probably, but I’m also the kind of person who after a while thinks, ‘I have to figure out how to do this because it could be interesting. The learning of it could be interesting’.”

Linette Melick, a first year pre-health student, said she used to do her taxes online, but after a mishap, is going to search for new avenues for next year.

“I was confident doing taxes because it seemed straightforward, but I didn’t know all the little things about it that would have gotten me that money that I’ve been missing out on.”

Melick said she thinks that the clinic would be helpful for other students as well.

“When you’re away from home usually your parents do their taxes or you get someone else to do them but you’re by yourself now so you cant really rely on them anymore.” said Melick.

The tax clinic opens on March 5 and runs every Tuesday in March and April 2 in the study room across from the bookstore.

You can find more information on the tax clinic’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Loyalist-College-Tax-Clinic/524352874242457?ref=ts&fref=ts