CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

March 14, 2002 Students get help on tax returns from accountancy peers



by Sigalit Hoffman

A record number of accountancy students are helping fellow Concordians get through the tax season.

“We have twice as many people as last year,” said Fatima Qureshi, co-coordinator of the John Molson Accounting Society (JMAS) tax clinic.

This year, 40 second- and third-year accounting students have volunteered to collect tax receipts from Concordia students and the general public. They are offering to file students’ tax returns for a fee of $15 to $20, and plan to donate the proceeds to the Mix 96 Kids’ Fund.

“It feels really good,” said Qureshi, who is coordinating the project with second-year accounting student Anisur Talukder. “You know what you’re doing is right.”

The volunteers also hope the clinic will be a learning experience.

“We’ve got lot of knowledge — we need some practical experience,” said third-year accounting student Ann Wu. Wu said there are other organizations that offer accounting students the opportunity to use their taxation knowledge, but she preferred to volunteer at Concordia where she knew the proceeds would be donated to needy children.

Qureshi said the Accounting Society is trying to make the service as accessible to students as possible. The JMAS charges a fraction of the average $30 to $50 fee for tax services.

“I got my taxes done at H & R Block. It was $54 — $15 to $20 is a deal,” said Montreal resident Leigh Mackenzie.

Accounting students must have taken the first two tax courses before they can volunteer with the tax clinic. Though Qureshi said it is relatively easy to file taxes, it does requires a basic knowledge of taxation. Qureshi, who has been filing her own taxes for the past three years, said students’ taxes are usually easy to file, thanks to the small number of tax receipts. “People have an income and a tuition credit, that’s the general thing,” she said. The JMAS’s job has been made even easier by some software that does the computing.

Qureshi said volunteers don’t only help students file taxes, they also help soothe jangled nerves during a stressful tax season.

“They don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “They need someone to hold them up.”

Students seemed grateful for the chance to get their taxes filed and to give to charity. One of them was first-year student Allison Whately, who had been handing over the job to “someone who puts up signs in the metro.”

Last year, the clinic filed taxes for almost 120 students. Volunteers will be available at a booth on the mezzanine of the Henry F. Hall Building from 10 to 5 Monday to Friday until the end of March. For more information, contact the John Molson Accounting Society at 848-2855.