International Segment of TAP
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In general, the international segment of the Tax Assistance Program (TAP) serves those who earn up to or less than the TAP income limit. Its clients include international faculty, researchers, scholars, students and staff. Unemployed international taxpayers whose tax year earnings were at or below the TAP income limit prior to collecting taxable unemployment benefits may also be served.
The majority of the services provided are preparation of income tax returns for the current tax year. Related issues may indicate additional help is needed occasionally.
Services are given primarily between early February and the middle of April of each year following the tax year close.
Because some clients are not always on-campus for preparation of tax returns, the TAP also provides limited services by email to qualified clients. These normally are students studying abroad and those who graduated during the tax year and cannot be present for on-campus service.
A general description of the service cycle includes: a sorting process to match tax need with an appropriate service provider; gathering of information by the client in a specified manner to enable the preparer to act efficiently in the preparation of the tax returns; tax return preparation; a quality review activity; signing, dating, copying, assembling and mailing the returns to the proper destination. Each client is given a copy of the returns prepared.
Because the TAP is a participant in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, its services are free to all clients for whom it prepares tax returns. The other VITA requirement is that the TAP retains no copies of client tax returns. The IRS requires that each tax payer retain copies of his/her filed tax returns for at least three years. The TAP recommends that all return copies be retained for as long as the international person resides in the US.