Free tax preparation service by accounting students is booked through April 1

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Nick Crow
Wednesday, February 12, 2014

JANESVILLE—A free tax preparation service by Blackhawk Technical College accounting students has proved so popular that all available appointments are booked through April 1.

The Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program is staffed by five students in their second years of the administrative professional program. They help low income and elderly residents completing their tax returns free of charge.

The students are trained in tax preparation, electronic tax filing and processing the information to the IRS.

The students are supervised by instructor Kay Fratianne, who is a certified public accountant. She reviews the completed returns prior to the clients signing them.

"It's our last semester of curriculum," said Diane Myers, one of the accounting students. "It's been enlightening. I've learned quite a lot."

Myers, 52, said she isn't a traditional student.

"I don't have a problem interacting, but this might give social skills to some students who plan to go into this kind of work," she said.

Tailor Hartman, 22, said the hands-on experience will help him when he is in the workforce.

"It's nice because I think most of the time people go to college and learn but don't have real experience before they get a job," Hartman said. "It helps meeting people and having them ask you questions."

The Internal Revenue Service commended the Blackhawk Technical College program for an error rejection rate of below 1 percent, according to a release by the college.

"We do about seven returns each Tuesday up until tax time," Myers said. "It kind of takes you away from the classroom setting a little bit and gives you an idea of what the real world entails. All and all, it's going well. It's a good experience for all of us."

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