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WITC students learn firsthand to prepare taxes

People lined the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College hallway during the recent free tax help session.

The program's benefit was twofold: The no-cost tax preparation aided the public, and the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College students in the accounting and finance programs got firsthand experience working with real-life tax situations.

For the second year in a row, WITC partnered with the AARP and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) to provide free tax assistance to senior citizens in the area. "Collaboration with AARP is helping us extend our outreach into the St. Croix Valley," said WITC instructor and VITA advisor Tom Pedersen.

Pedersen said the students were busy this year and prepared more than 100 returns, even more when combined with the AARP efforts on campus.

The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) tax preparers are WITC students and other volunteers trained with materials provided by the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Every year the returns are prepared with state-of-the-art software and electronically filed. A VITA hotline also provided helpful information around the clock.

Accounting is an important tool of business. The WITC accounting program is a two-year associate degree that prepares students to assemble, analyze, interpret and forecast essential information about the operation of an organization. Accountants prepare financial statements, cost studies and tax reports. WITC offers the accounting program at all four campuses and online at