Dear Savvy Smithie: Tax Returns

Susan Brunelle 'AC Contributing Writer

Dear Savvy Smithie, I am an international student here at Smith College. I am a resident in this country and I have received a W-2 for my work-study but I am unsure as to whether or not I need to file a tax return for last year. Do you know where I can go to find out if I need to file, and if I do, how can I do it inexpensively? - Mirina

Dear Mirina, Students in the Department of Accounting at the UMass Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst, are offering free income tax assistance to qualified taxpayers. Each year, the IRS-certified volunteers, under the direction of a certified public accountant or tax professional, help more than 1,700 people file their taxes at no cost to them. Volunteers have to go through a two- to four-hour IRS certification process and a three-part in-house training before they can start. Services are provided on a first come, first serve basis. UMass is a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site and provides both domestic and international service. The international service offers tax return filing for international non-resident aliens. Clients are asked to bring a copy of their past filed tax return, if available, as well as a valid Social Security or ITIN number, health care provider EIN and member number (1099-HC), all W-2s, 1098-T and any other tax-related information if it applies. UMass typically files about 650 domestic returns and more than 1,000 international returns.

When: Tuesday–Thursday (except week of March 19), 4–6:30 pm, through April 12 Where: UMass Amherst, Isenberg School of Management, Room 29 Cost: Free! For more info: Contact or visit

Dear Saavy Smithie is supported by the Center for Women & Financial Independence (WFI), which aims to enable students to manage their own financial wellbeing. Have questions about personal finance? Send them to WFI is located at Neilson Archway, next to Neilson Library.