The Fisher/Ohio State Tax Clinic provides free tax preparation services to low-income taxpayers living and working in the Columbus metro area. In 2015, the Clinic completed 275 tax returns and brought approximately $475,000 into the Columbus economy. The Clinic is now in its thirteenth year of operation.
Fisher students volunteer at these locations:
303 E Sixth Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201 Directions from Fisher College of Business
African American and African Studies Community Extension Center
905 Mount Vernon Ave
Columbus, OH 43203 Directions from Fisher College of Business
Due to the pandemic, most volunteers are doing tax preparation virtually, which requires taxpayers to submit their returns online through the United Way. Instructions and the submission link are here: https://liveunitedcentralohio.org/agency/tax-time/.
For the few volunteers who are doing tax preparation in-person, their appointments are on Saturdays only, with about 12-15 slots each week. For an in-person preparation, taxpayers are required to drop off their tax information one week, and pick up their tax return on a following week, in order to limit close contact. All appointments for in-person tax preparation are made by calling a hotline number: 2-1-1.
Congratulations to VITA!
The VITA program was part of a group of OSU community service projects recognized by President Bush on the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. Learn more about the award.
The Clinic operates a chapter of the IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. It also is a member of the Columbus Tax Time coalition, organized by the United Way Central Ohio, to aid citizens in obtaining the full amount of the credit as funded for them by Congress.
The Clinic works with the United Way and HandsOn Central Ohio to provide appointments for low-income taxpayers as they prepare their federal and state income tax returns. It offers workstations where qualified taxpayers come to work with our volunteers to complete their tax forms and file them electronically.
After the completion of the twelth filing season of the Tax Clinic -- as of 2015 -- the Clinic has:
Generated net Federal tax refunds of nearly $4,643,000, an important boost to the Columbus economy, and critical cash resources for our clients.
The Fisher/OSU Tax Clinic is supported in 2016 by 56 student volunteers, mostly from the MAccprogram and Beta Alpha Psi. Nine MAcc students have taken leadership roles as Site Managers for the operation this year.
Support for the student volunteers - computer equipment, e-filing training, uniforms, and refreshments - are provided by the United Way, Godman Guild, OSU Extension, the IRS, Fisher College, and the AMIS department.
VITA is a national operation, and most business schools operate a worksite every year. VITA and Beta Alpha Psi have a national partnership, with various levels of cross-promotion and incentives for quality work by the student volunteers.
Community service of this type - highly visible, involving lower income citizens, capturing tax refunds for them that otherwise would be ignored or given to for-profit tax preparers - is an important function of the college and the university. It helps OSU students develop an appreciation for client service and interaction, build their resumes, and "give back" to the taxpayers who make the university available. And it can bring significant amounts of tax refund/credit money from Washington into the local economy.