Campus club offers free tax filing for students

Practical volunteer experience for accounting and finance students

From left: TRUSU Taxation Club founder Swagatam Majumdar and campaigns director Himani Trivedi are very appreciative of the volunteers and sponsors who make the club possible. (Juan Cabrejo/The Omega)

TRUSU Taxation Club founder Swagatam Majumdar aims to help students file their tax returns for free through his organization. With the help of the club’s high volunteer engagement, the club has become an attractive option for students looking for assistance with tax preparation.

“We wanted to be a platform where students can come in and save some money,” he said. “We file their taxes for free and we are catering to students in the business school, in the nursing program, science program; they can all come in, it’s just one common platform where you can come in and get your taxes filed for free.”

When Majumdar first arrived at TRU in summer of 2017, his inspiration for the club arose after an interview in Vancouver, realizing that local accounting firms were sponsoring UBC’S Tax Assistance Clinic for Students (TACS). His vision was to establish a comparable service on campus.

“Over there I realized that some of the local accounting firms there were actually partnering with UBC and they have been doing this for some years,” he said. “In 2015, they were able to file about 900 taxes for students and that’s when I thought if they can do it, why can’t we step up our game and do this as well.”

In addition to the free tax filing service, the club offers a mentorship program for accounting or finance students looking for an edge on tax preparation.   

“I see it as a two-way process, firstly we invite students and file their taxes, the other thing we do is be a club where students can come in and get some hands-on experience,” Majumdar said. “Most of the volunteers on our team are accounting students, so what we do is our training directors go ahead and teach each volunteer to file taxes in real-time, that’s where they’re gaining a competitive advantage over students who don’t have experience.”

Around October of last year, the club landed an association with the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), the regulatory accreditor body for the CPA members in the province. The organization is hosting a business case competition with a cash prize of $2000.

“CPA Canada is one of the largest professional accounting bodies in the world, what happens is that every accounting student interested in pursuing the profession need to go through an accreditation process where they need a professional designation,” Majumdar added. “We got in association with them and our students get to learn more about the CPA programs such as how to enrol into this designation and the CPA also runs a case competition where students from all across various universities in Canada compete by analyzing and finding solutions.”

The team registration deadline for the CPABC Business Case competition is Jan. 30, nevertheless contact the Taxation Club as soon as possible if interested.