Provo’s Low Income Tax Clinic offers tax advice and counseling to anyone who files taxes as an independent with a low-end income, which could include many BYU students.
The clinic defines “low-end” as those who are living near the poverty line, which is often defined as roughly $24,000 income per year.
The clinic is a branch of Centro Hispano and runs off a grant from the IRS, and according to Edwin Dilwan, the clinic’s coordinator, the group’s main goal is fair and free representation of low income tax payers before the government.
“There are many who come into controversy with the IRS and can’t afford representation,” said Dilwan. “The grant helps fill that gap.”
Dilwan said he works with many BYU students who face frustration regarding a number of reasons. The most frequent, he said, center on students who were wrongly listed as a dependent on someone’s tax form and those who are given a 1099 MISC form rather than a W-2.
Eric Bylund is a tax practitioner who has worked at the clinic for three years now. He said he got the job because of his experience with Spanish (the clinic services a large portion of Provo’s Hispanic community) and accounting from his BYU classes.
One of Bylund’s primary responsibilities is helping those facing collections and those who haven’t filed their own taxes either before or for an extended period of time and are seeking help.
Bylund said the services are underused by BYU students who could benefit from further explanation regarding their rights as students and low-income tax payers.
“I definitely feel not enough BYU students know about the clinic and how it can help them even with simple issues,” Bylund said. “If they receive an IRS notice and they don’t know what it means, or if they haven’t filed for a while because they didn’t know they were supposed to, we can help them out with a lot of issues.”
Bylund also points out that students qualify for special exemptions and even returns.
“Students can get education credits like the American Opportunity credits, which is $1,000 back for students who pay their own tuition,” Bylund said. “A lot of students can get that and they don’t know they can or how do file for it.”
This, he said, includes expenses on school books.
The clinic’s website describes workshops designed to help individual’s better understand how tax law applies to attendees.
“Eligibility for workshops is unrestricted and can be done at any location for groups of 20 or more,” it reads.
Attendees must meet the low-income requirement.
The clinic is located at 817 South Freedom Blvd. Hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and appointments upon request during the evening.