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College students learn while helping others with tax preparations

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Students at several colleges in West Virginia are offering volunteer income tax assistance.

In the southern part of the state, students with Bluefield State College and Concord University are partnering with the United Way of the Virginias to help United Way clients with their taxes.

According to a news release, the site at Concord University will open Feb. 5 and will be located in the Marsh Library.  The Bluefield State College site will open Feb. 7 and will be located in the W. Paul Cole School of Business.

The United Way also will offer the service at other locations around Mercer County, including at its new office located inside First Community Bank on Federal Street in Bluefield, W.Va. 

The service is available by appointment only. Appointments can be made by contacting the United Way of the Virginias at 304-323-3300 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 2.p.m. 

In the northern part of the state, accounting students at Fairmont State University will provide free income tax preparation assistance in four counties beginning Feb. 1. 

According to a release from FSU, students will provide IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) tax preparation services in Fairmont, Clarksburg, Parsons and Mannington. The VITA program provides free basic tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers. 

"Last year, students in the Fairmont State VITA program prepared more than 1,200 federal and state tax returns. The students work long hours and travel to many locations to provide this free service. Their level of expertise and professionalism is routinely praised by the participants. The goodwill generated for the School of Business is immeasurable," said Richard Harvey, dean of the School of Business.

Student volunteers receive training and certification from the IRS to help prepare basic tax returns.

The Fairmont State VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries and other convenient and public locations. The service includes free electronic filing. To view the complete 2013 VITA schedule of dates and locations, visit http://www.fairmontstate.edu/schoolofbusiness/node/84/view. For information, call 304-367-4261.

No appointment is necessary, but those who wish to participate should arrive at least one hour prior to closing time. Returns are prepared on a first-come, first-served basis.