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Metropolitan State University of Denver now offering free tax preparation services for Coloradans

MSU Denver professor offers tips to Coloradans for tax season
MSU Denver professor offers tips to Coloradans for tax season 01:53

Tax season is upon us once again, which has Coloradans in a sprint to file their tax returns before April 15.

"Everyone has to do it. Everyone has to get their taxes done. It's a community standard that we have to do," said America Paisley.

Currently, Metropolitan State University of Denver students like Paisley have a direct hand in helping Colorado taxpayers get them done. "We're having people make appointments, they come in and get their taxes done by students at MSU Denver that are certified through the IRS," she said.

Paisley is part of what's called the VITA Program, which is short for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, at MSU Denver. It offers full tax preparation services free of charge. "It's completely free for anyone who makes an appointment. It's a great resource for the community," she said.

Affiliate Finance Professor Robert Persichitte has run the program since 2017 and considers it one of his biggest passions on campus.

 "The VITA Program is why I started here. People, especially low-income families, can come in and have their taxes done by a certified preparer, have it e-filed with the IRS and the state of Colorado, and have everything that they need for it. And VITA has been more accurate than paid preparers. We can get these students up to speed and they're just as good as any run-of-the-mill tax preparation service," he said.

Persichitte says the benefits aren't just monetary. "A lot of times, talking to students, they learn hands-on by doing these tax returns as part of the curriculum. It's not clean and in a textbook. It's real-life messiness they can deal with and make it fit."

"When you help someone and see that light bulb go off like oh, I get that now since we told them what it was, it's a good resource for them to be able to learn and for us to learn too," added Paisley.

Most households that make less than $64,000 a year will qualify for free VITA services. To schedule an appointment, click here.

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