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Accounting major doesn't find work taxing

4/15/2014

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

One might not think of doing taxes as a pleasant experience.

However, Mina Riazi, a tax-preparer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, did bring some happy smiles recently.

"There was a married couple, and they had been filing separately for quite a while, and I finally convinced them to file together. And they saved several thousand dollars," Riazi said Monday. "I was really happy, and they were really happy. It was a good day."

Riazi, a senior accounting major from Hays at Fort Hays State University, was working as a tax-preparer for the first time this tax season.

"It's really a good learning experience," she said. "Learning a lot more than what you had in class."

Beth Meahl and her husband, Jeff, are owners of a Jackson Hewitt franchise that has had a kiosk at the Hays Walmart SuperCenter for the last four or five years. This is their 12th tax season.

"Hays has been one of our better locations," Beth Meahl said.

Hays is one of eight locations for them. Beth Meahl said they will stay open until 8 tonight to help people with their taxes. The deadline to file income tax returns is midnight tonight.

The fee for their tax assistance varies. For instance, a basic 1040EZ federal return, plus doing state taxes, will cost $88.

"Our fees are based on the forms that we file, beginning with the single 1040EZ," Meahl said.

The state of Kansas changed its tax laws this season.

"Kansas completely re-worked their tax law in 2013," Meahl said. "There were several changes to the tax law."

The kiosk is capable of having two preparers on duty at the same time. Four FHSU students were hired as preparers this tax season.

Each preparer receives training in the fall to get ready for the tax season. The kiosk opened Jan. 5 in Hays.

Meahl said she is surprised by the people who come for tax assistance.

"We start with people on the lower end of the pay scale all the way up to the higher pay scales," she said.

"You just see a lot of different situations. Hopefully, we can make a person feel better about the outcome when we get done."

On Wednesday, Meahl and her husband will travel from site to site to break down kiosks. Even though the tax deadline is today, work continues for them.

"For us, it's always tax season," Beth Meahl said. "We have locations in Manhattan, Junction City. So we see a lot of military there. We service them year-round.

"Once tax season is over, we start preparing for the next season."