Tax Clinic serving disadvantaged open through March 4
MBA student Laine Powers worked diligently with a grandmother who hadn't filed a tax return in years because she didn't think she owed Uncle Sam a cent. As it turned out, Powers, who staffs the Fisher Tax Clinic, discovered Uncle Sam owed her.
Her small wages from evening and weekend shifts at a neighborhood grocery store coupled with the adoption of her grandson netted a $2,500 earned income credit. Powers, a second year MBA student, recalled the astonished woman's response. "Is this legal?," she wanted to know.
Understanding the world of 1040s, W2s and deductions can be tricky for most tax payers, but the task is even more daunting for less fortunate families in Columbus. Fisher lecturer and tax expert Bill Raabe launched the free clinic in 2004 when he arrived at Fisher as a way to help the community and provide real experience for students.
"We're dealing with people that would file incorrectly, not file at all or pay $300 to have a professional file a very simple return," Raabe said. "This gets them their refunds quickly and educates them on what they are entitled to and provides real face-to-face experience for our students."
For some of the recipients, a hefty return upwards of $4,000 surpasses more than a third of their annual income, Raabe said.
Students from the graduate accounting, MBA and undergraduate programs volunteer on Friday evenings and Saturdays at the Godman Guild Community Center preparing returns. This year's clinic is open until March 4.