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IRS-Certified Accounting Students Offer Free Tax Preparation at College

Mary Tillery, an accounting student at Lone Star College-Montgomery, is one several students certified by the IRS to offer volunteer tax preparation assistance on campus every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning through March 17.In an effort to assist lower-income families with filing their taxes, accounting students at Lone Star College-Montgomery are providing free income tax preparation on campus on Tuesdays from 5 p.m.-8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., in the financial aid area of the Student Services Center (Building C). The services will be offered through Saturday, March 17.

Through a partnership with Solutions for Communities VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), the students and other community volunteers have been trained and certified by the IRS to help families prepare and file their 2011 federal income tax returns. Additionally, representatives from Easter Seals Thrive Connection are also available to provide basic credit counseling and financial literacy education.  

Mary Tillery is one of 10 LSC-Montgomery students that have completed the training. At an intermediate level, Tillery, who lives in Humble, is qualified to handle more detailed tax returns involving deductions or medical expenses.

“This is an extreme asset to my career,” said Tillery, who aspires to become a certified public accountant (CPA) or a forensic accountant. “Any experience I gain prior to starting in the field will only help me more. Of course, it’s also helping several lower-income families. It’s benefitting everyone all around.”

Tillery will graduate in May with her associate of arts degree and transfer to the University of Houston to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Since the tax kiosk opened on January 28, the volunteers have helped file 14 tax returns.

“The population we’re serving really depends on this income and needs their money quickly,” said Madeline Brogan, professor of accounting at LSC-Montgomery. “Our goal is to do it for free, but get them their money just as fast as a paid preparer or pay-day loan company.”

According to the IRS, taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 17 to file their tax returns. Those eligible for the free tax preparation service at LSC-Montgomery include low-to-moderate income families, the elderly or disabled, rural residents, and those limited in English proficiency.

LSC-Montgomery has provided volunteer tax preparation services for several years. It’s a service-learning opportunity for accounting students in the college’s Accounting and Business Club, which promotes the profession and provides resources to interested students. Tillery serves as vice president for the club.
LSC-Montgomery offers an associate degree in accounting, an accounting certificate, taxation certificate, continuing education office accounting courses, and an accounting advanced technical certificate for CPA exam preparation, which allows individuals who have a baccalaureate or higher degree to earn the 30 advanced accounting hours needed to take the examination to become a CPA.
For more information about the accounting program at LSC-Montgomery or the free tax preparation services, contact Pat Sendelbach, accounting department chair, at 936.271.6134, or at Patricia.A.Sendelbach@LoneStar.edu; or Madeline Brogan at 936.273.7253, or Madeline.M.Brogan@LoneStar.edu.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call 936.273.7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery
With more than 75,000 students in credit classes for fall 2011, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.