Taxes - DatelineCarolina

USC Law Students Provide Free Tax Filing Help

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Kyle Heck came in for VITA assistance for the first time. Kyle Heck came in for VITA assistance for the first time.
Anyone who qualifies for VITA assistance can get free help if they sign up. Anyone who qualifies for VITA assistance can get free help if they sign up.

By: Taylor Bingham

The USC Law School is trying to make tax season a little easier for people. Volunteer law students provide free tax filing help, while getting hands-on IRS training.

This is the 23rd year the USC Law School has been involved in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, also known as VITA.

Second year law student Emily McGililan says this kind of work is not your average volunteering.

"It really is about the application to me. It's really about utilizing what I've learned in the classroom and using it to help people who really need it," McGililan says.

Volunteers like McGililan interview their clients for information and report to Jason Gills, who's in his third year of filing state and federal returns.

"There's certainly a satisfaction in helping people… keeping them away from tax services that may rip them off," Gills says.

USC student Kyle Heck qualifies for VITA assistance. He says he was pleasantly surprised by his first visit to the program.

"I know you go to H&R block or something my parents get charged hundreds of dollars for their taxes. Here they do the same stuff for free, and they know what they're doing," Heck says.

The VITA program at the USC Law School will run through April 1 and sessions are held from 5:30pm to 8:00pm on Wednesdays and 9:00am to noon on Saturdays. 

It is a first come, first serve basis, but no appointment is necessary.

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