Free tax prep at PSU

Partnering with Student Legal and Mediation Services, CASH Oregon tax preparation services is in its third year of offering a free tax service on campus.

Partnering with Student Legal and Mediation Services, CASH Oregon tax preparation services is in its third year of offering a free tax service on campus.

The service begins Feb. 6 and runs through April 11, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., in room 360 of the School of Business Administration. It will be closed during the weekends of spring break, on March 20–21 and March 27–28.

Emily Persico, SLMS office manager, said this service is not just for students—it’s open to the public and free of charge.

She explained it as “first come, first serve, no appointments.”

Persico has used the service in the past and thinks it’s great.

Also, taxpayers can seek assistance if they receive any inquiries from the IRS within this time period.

CASH Oregon is also partnering with the American Association of Retired Persons Tax-Aide to assist low- and middle-income families and individuals. According to the AARP Web site (, the AARP Tax-Aide program started in 1968 with four volunteers. Social Venture Partners Portland, a local nonprofit organization, joined with the Oregon Education Tax Credit Coalition to form CASH Oregon in 2005.

Funding is made available through grants, individual and group donations. Social Venture Partners Portland is a major funder of CASH Oregon.

” [The] goal is to assist as many needy individuals as possible to prepare their income tax,” said volunteer David Kahl. “There are a lot of tax credits—Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to name just a couple—that are available to taxpayers. We want to make sure that those members of the community that are eligible for these credits do indeed file a return to claim them.”

Kahl, president of local group Ergo Depot, relocated to Oregon several years ago. He was looking for ways to volunteer within the community, and CASH Oregon was an appropriate fit for him since he is a CPA that has a lot of tax experience.

Kahl explained that the tax preparers are volunteers. They must pass a four-week course taught by AARP and the IRS, prior to assisting others. Volunteers must also pass three written tests to get certification to prepare returns.

Volunteers complete each return during an interview with the taxpayer. Once the return is complete, the taxpayer will sign a form stating that information on the return is factual and accurate to the best of their knowledge.

The majority of volunteers at PSU are accounting students who have invested a lot of personal time, using their skills to help fellow students and the community. At the PSU site in particular, about 70 percent of the preparers are students. At other sites, the number of students is much lower.

Kahl suggests that taxpayers bring all of their tax forms [e.g., W-2s, 1099, 1098T], their Social Security card or photo identification, a copy of their previous year’s tax return and a blank check so that routing and account numbers can be put in the tax return. Kahl said that direct-deposit refunds arrive significantly faster than paper-check refunds.

Even if someone believes they are not required to file, Kahl recommends they come to the site anyway.

“The expanded tax credits for students this year can be significant and are refundable in some cases, [for example the] American Opportunity Credit,” he said. “This means that you could get a refund even if you don’t have enough income to file.”

Call SLMS at 503-725-4556 with any questions.