Taxes not so taxing at Transy

by Molly Crain
News Editor

It’s tax season again, and the Transylvania accounting program is here to help — free of charge.

After having three training sessions, the first starting in January, 24 Transy students are ready to reduce taxing stressors for people in the community that need it the most.

“We do returns every Wednesday in February from 3 to 6,” said Accounting Program Director Dr. Daniel Fulks. “Except for this year (a leap year), there is an extra Wednesday. … We won’t be doing the 29th.”

A consistent service, this program has attracted Lexington locals annually.

“We have some clients coming back for 10-15 years,” said Fulks. “They know we are here every year and show up. … (Of) course, they recognize me and Judy (Jones, accounting professor). … Sometimes they will recognize students.”

For the portfolios brought in, there are “number limits,” said Fulks. Members of the accounting team aren’t certified to assist clients if their gross income is more than $40,000.

“We are here to help low-income people,” said Fulks.

To be able to aid individuals with their taxes professionally, a financial assistant must be certified.

“Not only students,” Fulks said, “but Judy and I as well. … We have to go on the (Internal Revenue Service) website and get certified, which is a nice thing. It gives us some quality control.”

Accomplishing around 15-20 tax returns a week, the students are gaining a real-world trade while being offered the opportunity to receive a half-credit for their hard work.

Processed manually and electronically, the accounting program has made sure the tax return procedure remains a thorough service.

“We also do the process by hand,” said Fulks. “And then those go upstairs to the computer lab (in the Cowgill Center), and then they are put into the software. … And if there is any difference between upstairs and downstairs, we check them again.”

Junior accounting major Wes Becker offered his comments on the experience.

“It feels really good to be able to prepare taxes for free for members of the community,” Becker said. “It also gives us a lot of the experience we will need when we get accounting jobs after we graduate.”

However, not all of the students working on taxes are accounting majors.

“There are two or three people that aren’t that are just doing it to get the experience working with the computer software we use,” said Becker.

Senior Sergio De la Fuente, who has been doing the free tax return process for the past three years, feels like he is “having a good experience” and enjoys helping those who haven’t been able to pay for tax return services.

“The program is wonderful,” said Fulks. “It’s a wonderful service for the students and the community. It’s a practical application for what we learn in class.”

After the monthlong practice, students are asked to write a reflection paper — which is one of Fulks’ favorite parts of the process.

“It makes us realize how lucky we are. It’s worth it for the community experience,” said Fulks.

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