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Taxes trouble students, but there’s help available

By Aynslee Darmon [1]

BELLEVILLE – Income-tax season is fast approaching, but some Loyalist students are confused about how to file their tax returns.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start,” said Katelyn Shier, a third-year Graphic Design student.

“I never got taught how to do it so it will definitely be difficult for me to do it on my own,” Shier said.

She is beginning a job placement at the end of March and said she feels nervous about figuring out how to file her tax return when she is living on her own.

“My mom usually gets someone to do her income taxes so I’ll probably have to do the exact same,” she said.

Shannon Palmer, who is in the Social Service Worker program, said she too feels concerned about having to do her tax return.

“I don’t know how to do my income taxes. The school should have a class teaching us what they mean and how it works. I know I would take advantage of it,” Palmer said.

But there is an option for students who don’t know where to start when it comes to their tax return.

Loyalist’s Accounting program [2] and student government [3] are offering a free student tax clinic four days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) starting Feb. 23 and continuing until April 2. The clinic will be held in the Quiet Lounge (1H6B) across from the bookstore.

Students will be able to ask questions and get advice from accounting students. You can drop off your information and let a student do the tax return for you, or stay to learn how to file your own tax return.

Carol Coupland, an Accounting professor at Loyalist, said most students prefer to drop off their paperwork and pick up their completed return a few hours later.

“We average about 130 tax returns each year, with about half of those coming from our international students,” Coupland said.

Last year Denissa Palmer, a second-year Journalism student (no relation to Shannon Palmer), took advantage of having the tax clinic here.

“The one thing I forgot I would be responsible for when I moved out at 18 was my taxes. I am 20 now and the only reason I know anything about income taxes is because of the clinic here at Loyalist,” Palmer said. “We had a short 15-minute meeting and I walked out feeling like a grown-up.”

For more information visit the Free Student Tax Clinic [4] webpage.