KISSIMMEE – With the April 15 tax deadline coming up, a lot of people will be scrambling over the next month to get their tax forms completed.
It means agencies like Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will be pretty busy – and sometimes understaffed as they try to cope with the deluge of customers who need help preparing their tax forms.
So now Jackson Hewitt is hoping to recruit a lot of new workers, starting next year, in a unique way: by working with one of the local colleges to offer a tax preparation course that not only teaches people how to prepare tax forms, but can help land them a job after the complete the four month course.
“What we’re doing is trying to orient the community that there is a lot of misinformation about taxes,” said Ivonne Palacios, office manager for the Jackson Hewitt office at 444 W. Vine St. in Kissimmee. “Next year we’re going to work with TECO on offering tax classes.”
TECO is Technical Education Center Osceola, the college that offers low-cost courses in numerous career and technical programs and academic disciplines.
The classes start in September, and run through the end of the year. This will not be an online course.
“It’s a four-month class,” Palacios said. “We do have some online classes, but those are for people who have experience already,” and need continuing education.
“These classes will be two times in the week, and it can be in the morning or afternoon,” she said.
The TECO course will offer the basics in tax rules, and require the students to work on various tax preparation scenarios on their computer. The courses will be bilingual, offered in both English and Spanish.
“They’re going to learn taxes for everything,” Palacios said. “The classes that we do, we follow the IRS guidelines.”
“To pass the Jackson Hewitt test, you have to score at least 80 percent,” she said. “You have to be really prepared to do a good service for the taxpayer.”
The course is $150, which Palacios said mainly covers the cost of books required for the students to read.
“You actually pay for three books with that $150,” she said.
But the best thing about the course, she said, is that those who successfully complete it can expect to find work at Jackson Hewitt.
“When they take the exam, they can come work with us as tax accountants,” she said. “They can do it part-time or full-time. That’s going to help people get accounting positions.”
To learn more, log on to www.JacksonHewitt.com, or call Palacios at 407-282-1040.
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