If you go

What: Tax Help Colorado

When: Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: University of Colorado, Koelbel Building, Room 360

More info: leeds.colorado.edu or piton.org

The Leeds of School of Business is offering a new tax help program this year for low-income families and individuals at the University of Colorado campus. The Tax Help Colorado provides free tax preparation for families who make under $49,000 year.

The program is a product of an expanding partnership between the Denver-based Piton Foundation and Colorado colleges focusing on helping people eligible for the earned income tax credit and child tax credit. CU and Adams State College in Alamosa are the first four-year universities to participate in the program.

"It's about time our flagship university got this going," said Susan Morely, a senior business law instructor at the Leeds School of Business.

The service operates out of the Koelbel Building, Room 360. Sessions are on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday evenings, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Free parking is available. A list of required documents and forms prepares are qualified to file is listed on the Leeds School of Business Web site. The program ends March 13.


The program allows qualified students to gain experience filing tax returns, as well as save low-income families the cost of professional tax preparation. All preparers are required to pass an Internal Revenue Service certification exam. Participating students receive two hours of independent study credit for their time.

"It is great providing this service for the citizens of Boulder because we are the only ones in the area providing a great service like this," said Sara Wicther, a senior accounting student.

Wicther, who participated in the program's first session last weekend, said she was pleased with the results.

"I had one couple with three children and I ended up saving them $10,000," said Wichter.

Piton Foundation representative Diane DiGiacomo, who has helped coordinate the Tax Help Colorado program at CU, is optimistic about the program in Boulder.

"With all first-year sites, it takes awhile for people to realize it's there," she said. "It's been a nice partnership. We've worked with Bob Hullinghorst, Boulder County treasurer, and the Boulder County Social Service office to mail out notification to all public benefit recipients in Boulder."

Those who have received help from the program have expressed their satisfaction and gratitude. Magdalena and Gregory Olesiak are Polish immigrants who had their tax return filed on Wednesday evening at the Koelbel Building.

"Great people and great service -- for us they are lifesavers," said Magdalena Olesiak.

The Koelbel Building site offers translators who speak Spanish, Vietnamese and several other languages. For more information and other Tax Help Colorado locations, visit leeds.colorado.edu or piton.org.