Lissete Mendez, Vaughn Ferron and Evelyn Segovia: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Lissete Mendez, Vaughn Ferron and Evelyn Segovia: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Words like “taxes” and “Internal Revenue Service” intimidate many adults, but not Woodrow Wilson High School students. This year they spent their free time becoming certified IRS agents, and they can do your taxes for free.

Denise Tucker, the director of Woodrow’s Academy of Finance, partnered with the IRS to teach about 20 students how to file 1040EZ and 1040 forms. Woodrow is one of only three schools in the state with students who are certified IRS agents.

“We’re accredited through the National Academy of Finance, and every year they have a conference,” Tucker explains. “The last couple years I’ve been going, I keep seeing the IRS pop up, that these kids are doing this program. This year I decided, ‘You know what, if they can do it, our kids can do it.’ So here we are.”

On Jan. 20, the students completed the IRS certification, and since early February they have been electronically filing tax returns through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Although the students are granted volunteer hours by the IRS, most of the students, like Woodrow sophomore Arely Becerra, signed on because it “seemed like a good opportunity to learn how to do taxes.”

Some students were nervous at first. Junior Melissa Perez says she understands the weight of the responsibility.

“I felt scared because you could mess up people’s taxes,” Perez explains. “I’m young, and people might think I’m not responsible enough to do their taxes.”

But passing the required exams has given the students a boost of confidence.

“I know I can do it,” Perez says.

The students are taking appointments for tax return service. They must file 100 returns to be eligible to offer the service again next year. Just as with any professional tax office, the students’ certification requires that they adhere to best practices that protect clients’ financial information.

To schedule tax preparation services, call Denise Tucker at 972.502.4400. Students will return calls and set client appointments through April 15.

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