U of S helps local residents beat the tax deadline

The date to file your 2014 tax return is just days away, but for 545 local residents there will be no deadline drama this year, courtesy of the University of Saskatchewan's volunteer tax preparation program.

For the 27th year, the Edwards School of Business has helped low-income individuals and families file their tax returns, with 132 students, 43 chartered accountants and 11 faculty members volunteering a total of 659 hours of their time to help with the program.

"This is the second year of going to electronic returns and the process is working well," said Nathalie Johnstone, assistant professor in the school's Department of Accounting and co-ordinator of this year's tax preparation initiative. "This year went smoothly and the students reported having a great time."

U of S students contributed 396 volunteer hours this year preparing the tax returns, which were reviewed for accuracy by the volunteer accountants and faculty members. The accountants, the majority Edwards School alumni, contributed a total of 129 hours of their time to the project, while faculty volunteered for a total of 134 hours.

"Many of the Chartered Professional Accountants who came to review the program are former students who were student preparers in the tax program," said Johnstone. "They continue to give back to the community because they find it rewarding and an excellent experience for the students. They come back year after year which tells me they enjoy the program. We could not do it without them."

The program was conducted at locations across the city, with the majority held at senior centres.

"The community appreciates this vital service, especially folks with mobility challenges, and those who cannot afford tax preparation," said Edwards School of Business Dean Daphne Taras. "We are a top accounting school. We have a responsibility to help vulnerable people make sense of our tax system. I am very appreciative of the volunteer efforts of so many professionals. We do this year after year because we believe it matters. And our clients greet us with relief, and real warmth."

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For more information contact:
James Shewaga
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan

Nathalie Johnstone
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Accounting
Edwards School of Business
University of Saskatchewan
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