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UO students offer to help low-income taxpayers with filing process

Stack of tax forms, books, and a calculator. A pen sits next to the calculator.
Steve Buissinne
The first session of UO's program will be held Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Lillis Business Complex. Organizers say there will be volunteers who speak fluent Spanish, and remote interpreters for other language needs.

With tax-filing season underway, low-income residents in Lane County can be guided through the process at the University of Oregon.

UO’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is run by Beta Alpha Psi, an honors society and student accounting club, with support and training from the IRS.

For free, volunteers will help taxpayers review their income information and file their tax return. The service is open to those with a disability, limited English proficiency, or an annual household income of up to $64,000.

“Taxes can be overwhelming, especially for lower income families that really need every single dollar just in order to get by,” said volunteer Christian Tinoco Lopez. “And so the biggest impact that I see is just that comfort and a level of security that our services provide.”

There will be seven sessions this season, and each will be first come, first serve. Lopez said previously, they've had to turn some taxpayers away due to demand, but that could change with the greater number of volunteers this year.

The first session will be held Saturday, starting at 11 AM at UO’s Lillis Business Complex. Taxpayers should bring any information that's relevant to income, including a social security or taxpayer ID card. The program has provided a full list of requirements online.

"As long as they have all the necessary documents for their wages, they'll leave with a copy of their refund," said program site coordinator Jeremy Brands.

UO's service is one of multiple VITA programs across the country. A list of other free filing options is available through the IRS' website.

Nathan Wilk joined the KLCC News Team in 2022. He is a graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Born in Portland, Wilk began working in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon.