By Sarah Meedel
Tax season will be upon us soon. If students are still being claimed by their parents, they will more than likely not be plagued by the dilemma of handling their own taxes. Other students who are out on their own and no longer dependents may have a tougher time this April.
For those unlucky students who face the daunting task of doing taxes, there may be an option to help ease the pain. Ever thought of hiring an accountant to help out?
The tax laws are constantly changing. An everyday citizen most likely is not aware of tax law changes like an accountant is. The changes in the laws can provide multiple new tax breaks for people. They can also have a negative effect, most notably when someone was once applicable for a law but now is not. Most people would not know if they were still eligible; this is where an accountant might come in handy.
Celine McHale of McHale Accounting says students just working part-time jobs are not usually affected much by yearly changes.
“It would still be useful to have somebody look at it, to make sure that they’re taking advantage of what is available to them,” she says.
There are a few deductions that can be made that are only available to students. These include a student loan interest deduction and tuition tax credits. These can be useful for students who are no longer claimed by their parents.
Here at UNO, there seems to be a trend in students working more than just part-time. For students working full-time while attending school, there are other tax breaks available. The full-time workers have the option of taking advantage of the education tax credit while they attend school.
For the non-traditional college students, there are breaks as well. McHale says there is a deduction available for continuing education for those who qualify.
Every accountant is different and is going to have different rates.
“The average student probably doesn’t itemize their taxes,” McHale says.
This makes for cheaper and easier filing. McHale suggests *e-file. She says e-filing gets people their returns back faster, but is more expensive. Tela-file alone can run up to $50. Something to remember about e-filing is people can not do it unless they have the pin number the government assigned them. If a student plans to have an accountant assist them and file their taxes, it could start as low as $25.
No matter how a person decides to do their taxes this year, it is important to remain organized. People need to make sure and get a receipt for their tax deductions and major purchases. Without a receipt, it is very difficult to go back and reconstruct the purchases. McHales discourages cash donations.
“With cash there is no paper trail to follow,” she says.
Instead, she suggests donating with a check or charge card; this way, deductions will be documented. For organization, try a filing system for receipts so that come tax return time, there is not a wad of papers in a sack impossible to sort.
“The biggest nightmare is when they come in with a big grocery sack filled with reciepts,” McHale says.
This is very time-consuming for the account and the customer, so it is recommended to just try and organize throughout the year.
If someone is looking for a few tax breaks here and there, an accountant could be the right choice.