Olivia Moe

Managing Editor

There are two things in life that are inevitable, and one of them is taxes. The filing deadline of April 18 is just around the corner.  Lorain County Community College students who are unsure of how to file their taxes are encouraged to check their financial aid status at the college before sending in any forms.

LCCC is a member of the Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition (FTPC)  The Lorain County FTPC is a group of individuals, non-profits, financial institutions, and government agencies working to provide free tax preparation and filing as well as financial literacy resources specifically targeted for low and moderate-income households of Lorain County Ohio. The Lorain County FTPC recruits and trains IRS certified volunteer tax preparers to offer an alternative to paid tax preparers.  Many students qualify for free tax preparation services, as long as they are families or individuals who make less than $60,000 a year.

There are locations throughout Lorain County where students can have their  taxes prepared for free through the Lorain County FTPC.

LCCC’s  main, Lorain, and Ridge campuses have all hosted tax filling events specifically targeted to students.

The Ohio Benefits Bank (OBB) also offers free tax filing services.  Students can inquire about OBB at Financial Services, Careers, or the Commodore Cupboard at LCCC.

There are also benefits for students who are receiving federal work-study funds.  Students would not have to report their work-study earnings on their financial aid application the following year, even if they report them on their tax returns.  This could help students with greater Pell eligibility and increase their Pell amount.

“I would recommend that students take advantage of the free tax preparation available through OBB or the Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition, particularly if they are not confident in their own ability to navigate the free online tax software available,” encouraged Stephanie Sutton, associate provost enrollment management  and student success/registrar.

Early strides to file taxes also has an impact on the student’s FAFSA. “The FAFSA is much easier to complete if the tax returns have already been filed,” added Sutton. “We [financial services] recommend that students do not file their FAFSA until two weeks after they have electronically filed their federal tax returns.”

By waiting, this allows students to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which saves them having to find accurate figures from their tax returns and assures the information on their FAFSA is accurate.  This also can save the student time in waiving documentation requirements if the student is chosen for verification at a later date.

Other locations to file taxes in Lorain County include: American Tax Services, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service,Lorain County Tax Services, and Quality Tax Services.

For more information, filing locations and questions related to filling taxes visit: www.loraincountyfreetaxprep.org.