CGCC will offer Tax Preparation Classes

December 22, 2017

Income tax season is fast approaching, and upcoming classes at Columbia Gorge Community College will give people many of the tools needed to prepare their own returns and even help community members through the volunteer Tax-Aide Program. One class is geared specifically to students and their family members. Here’s an overview:

“Maximizing your Education Credit” is a two-hour course that covers eligibility rules for claiming an education credit on your income tax filing. This explains why dependent status matters, discusses the 1098-T form and standard method for calculating credit, offers tips on how information from the college’s business office can help maximize the credit, and provides suggestions for record-keeping.

This course will be offered twice, on Saturday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon on the Hood River – Indian Creek Campus and Saturday, Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. to noon on The Dalles Campus . Instructors are Stephen Shwiff and Sue Ann Arguelles, a Tax-Aide instructor. This is a free course, and there are no required textbooks. All materials are provided by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) through their joint sponsorship of the Tax-Aide program.

Separately, the college is offering Business Administration 256, which introduces students to the preparation of federal individual and sole proprietorship income tax returns. The course combines the academic aspect of taxation principles with the practical experience of preparing tax returns for real people through AARP’s Tax-Aide program.

This class is “hybrid,” meaning it has an on-line component which allows study prior to the first face-to-face classroom meeting on Friday, Jan. 12. Face-to-face classes continue each Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. in The Dalles Campus computer lab until students are ready to volunteer and prepare community members’ tax returns. At that time, class will meet in the Mid-Columbia Senior Center; 1112 West Ninth Street, The Dalles, beginning at 1 p.m. and finishing by early evening.

In order to help students with educational costs, there is no textbook assigned for the course. AARP and IRS provide all the resources necessary to learn income tax law and practice tax preparation as well as the software for preparing clients’ tax returns through the Tax-Aide Program. These resources will be available on-line through Moodle and the Tax-Aide program; printed copies of most materials will also be available.

Students must complete weekly assignments until they’re ready to volunteer with the Tax-Aide program. All assignments are open book, combined with notes, internet access and cooperative work with other students, Professor Shwiff, Tax-Aide Instructors and staff. “The only thing you cannot do is have someone else do your work,” Shwiff noted. “Cooperative learning will be the primary approach, as will immersion into the subject.”

Tax-Aide provides training and experience with the goal of having each student volunteer at least 40 hours helping community members in Tax-Aide clinics. Students are expected to work at least 30 hours to pass the course; top volunteers may qualify for travel reimbursement if needed.

To register for either of these tax preparation classes, contact CGCC Student Services via the college website,, or call (541) 506-6011 in The Dalles or (541) 308-8211 in Hood River.