Every year from January to mid-April, tax season is on the mind of many Americans.
The traditional deadline for filing taxes is April 15, though the COVID-19 pandemic led to delays in 2020 and 2021. This year, the April 18 deadline is fast approaching, and many people — students included — may be looking for assistance.
Filing taxes can be a daunting, confusing task. For Salt Lake area residents, there are a number of affordable — and, in some cases, free — resources available to help with the filing process, including H&R Block, a well-known commercial tax filing business, and the Westminster Tax Clinic.
Sadee Nielson, a multi-unit team leader at H&R Block, shared a variety of ways the company can help with tax filing.
In addition to the traditional in-person filing with tax professionals at their “brick and mortar” locations, they offer online resources through their website and the H&R Block app. There is a free online filing option for those who prefer to file themselves or don’t want to file in person. Those who choose to file online can also choose to pay to have a professional assist them with the process.
“Out of all of the tax places, I would say H&R Block is your best bet, because we have the most options,” Nielson said.
Westminster Tax Clinic
The Westminster Tax Clinic operates every year throughout tax season at three different locations: the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City, the Summit County Library in Park City, and the Salt Lake Community College campus in West Valley City. The clinic is run by students as well as volunteers who offer not only basic tax preparation services, but a plethora of other tax-related services.
“We do free preparation, free filing, and then free financial advocacy services,” said Jovana Sisovic, the director of the Westminster Tax Clinic.
The clinic is part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. Sisovic explained that it is aimed at helping the underserved populations in the area.
“Whether it’s low- to moderate-income individuals and families, English [as a] second language taxpayers … people from generally excluded and underrepresented groups historically,” she said.
According to Sisovic, the clinic helped over 3,000 people last year alone.
Sisovic explained that the students and volunteers that are part of the clinic are all well qualified to offer tax help. Many of them come from different backgrounds and education majors, but all are required to take tax training and pass certain certifications before being part of the clinic. This means that students and others seeking assistance can go to the clinic with confidence that they will be receiving quality help.
For those wondering if they qualify for help from the Westminster Tax Clinic, Sisovic said they rarely turn anyone away. Westminster’s website says the clinic offers its services to underserved groups, but Sisovic said “we will serve anybody who wants the service … we won’t turn anyone away who wants tax help.”
As of this writing, the clinic is open for appointments or virtual meetings, depending on the location. The clinic will be open through the April 18 tax deadline. After that date, services will only be available at Westminster College until next year’s tax season.