Accountants, business owners and other income tax preparers can update their tax knowledge by participating in this year’s edition of the West Virginia University Extension Service Tax Schools in Morgantown and South Charleston.
The first school will be held Wednesday, Nov. 10, and Thursday, Nov.11, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, South Charleston. The second runs from Tuesday, Nov. 30, through Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the Lakeview Resort and Conference Center, Morgantown.
The popular Tax Schools give all tax preparers a chance to work with and question Internal Revenue Service employees, said Tom McConnell, coordinator of the Tax Schools and director of the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center.
Since its inception 14 years ago, the Small Farm Center has sponsored the workshops for hundreds of accountants, tax practitioners, enrolled tax agents, small business owners and bankers. Although those who attend the Tax Schools typically manage, prepare and file income tax returns, McConnell said anyone interested in taxes may attend.
Topics covered during the sessions include independent taxpayer issues, personal income taxes, investment issues, tax ethics, and retirement and agricultural taxes. All information covered is approved by the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.
“We help provide 16 continuing education units,” McConnell said, explaining that tax preparers are required to obtain 48 hours of continuing education each year to maintain their certification.
He noted that the schools’ two IRS instructors, who have a combined total of more than 50 years working for the IRS, are valuable tools of knowledge for West Virginia’s tax preparers.
“I think that’s one of the best parts about the Tax School,” he said. “You have these folks at arm’s length whenever you need them, and there are those instances when you need them.”
The sessions focus on fair taxation, instructing tax preparers on how to help their clients save the most money and comply with all laws.
“I think a lot of people don’t fully appreciate income tax law,” McConnell said. “It’s not out there to beat people down. It’s out there to tax them equitably. So, not every lesson is what your person owes. . . . (The IRS speakers) talk about all the exceptions and how to truly interpret the tax law as it is intended.”
“Everyone whose taxes are filed by people who attend this class benefit because the preparers are up-to-date and they have a special relationship with our IRS partners,” he said.
The WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center is among the outreach programs helping West Virginians increase their income and protect their resources. To find out more about Extension and its programs, visit www.ext.wvu.edu.
Tom McConnell, WVU Extension Small Farm Center
Ann Bailey Berry, WVU Extension Communications