Idaho State University College of Business student Nicholas Mingo has gained academic knowledge of tax issues in the classroom, but it wasn’t until he decided to volunteer with the VITA program that he was able to see how his knowledge could help others in the real world.
Now, Mingo, who is finishing his bachelor’s degree in May, then planning to earn a Master of Accounting degree, estimates he’s filed 40-50 tax returns in the three years he has worked with the program, which pairs trained students with community members to offer free tax assistance and filing. Mingo, who also has an internship with a local accounting firm, hopes to someday work in an accounting firm full-time, then eventually work on his family farm in Rockland, taking care of financial operations.
To volunteer with the program, students must first pass three exams covering volunteer code of conduct, an intake and review sheet exam, and basic and advanced tax examinations. Last year, 480 returns were filed through the program.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn about doing taxes,” Mingo said. “In classes you get taught the theories, but we don’t get to see and use the actual forms. What I’ve learned here will really carry me forward in my future career.”
The VITA program offers free tax preparation to anyone with a yearly household income of $57,000 per year or less. Community members can simply walk in on March 31 or April 7 from 5 - 9 p.m. at the University in the Rendezvous Complex Room 213, located on Martin Luther King Way in Pocatello.