UWRF’s Accounting Society prepares to offer tax clinics again this year

Posted February 22, 2017

Every year the Accounting Society, a student-run organization at UW-River Falls, puts on a clinic to help individuals prepare for tax season.

The clinics have been going strong for 10 years now. David Breger, an assistant professor of accounting and finance, recently took over as the faculty adviser to the Accounting Society.

“We’ve been doing this for 10 years and I hope it continues to flourish,” Breger said.

The individuals whom the Accounting Society helps can’t be students. They are people from around the community.

“It’s a lot of people that would have a difficult time preparing forms on their own,” Breger said.

Westconsin Credit Union in River Falls will again be hosting the tax clinic as it has done in the past. The clinic will be on three different nights with about 10 students and a faculty member meeting with clients.

“We’ll have 10 students each night. We’ll get pizza there for the kids and other food and wait for people to help,” Breger said.

Neither the students nor the faculty members are signing off on any documents but rather just helping people prepare their forms.

“The biggest problem we run into is people not having the right documents, or not enough information for the students to help,” Breger said. In that case, students have to turn people away and wait until they have information to work with.

In addition to the students’ help, each faculty member reviews the students’ work to make sure everything is in order before sending people on their way.

“We just need to make sure that we’re not liable and everything is squared away,” Breger said.

According to Breger, a good majority of the people they help are low-income tax filers or first timers. It’s pretty basic and gives the students a hands-on opportunity to work with people and prepare themselves in their eventual career path.

In addition to his help with the tax clinics, Breger will be assuming all of the duties of being the faculty adviser. He will help coordinate weekly speakers in accounting classes from all over the area.

“It’s good for the students to hear real-life experiences from people that could potentially give them an internship, or a job down the road,” Breger said.

The Accounting Society also hosts accounting conferences where students organize speakers and get to work one on one with each other and with accounting professionals.

Breger also had some advice to offer to people who are filling out their taxes for the first time: “There’s help everywhere, you just have to look for it.”

He said that services like TurboTax or other online sources are great just for information even if a person doesn’t buy anything. According to Breger, a lot of questions can be answered just by searching for it on the internet.

The three dates for the tax clinics haven’t yet been announced but will be figured out soon.