By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– Tax Help Colorado offers free tax preparation to low-income families around the state. The Piton Foundation program aims to ease the burden of preparation costs for families making less than $55,000 a year.

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Tax Help Colorado enlists the help of both high school and college volunteers.

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“We always get a few questionable looks from tax payers when they see someone who is 16 or 17 years old,” said Courtney O’Reilly, Tax Help Colorado. “Our students are IRS certified and have to go through an entire certification process, which is more than a lot of paid preparers in Colorado.”

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O’Reilly says Colorado does not require its tax preparers to be licensed.

While student volunteers aren’t paid for their services, they still leave with a return of their own. Tax Help Colorado has helped its student volunteers acquire scholarships and jobs after graduation.

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“A lot of the time they’re in the classroom, not getting real-world experience. When they volunteer with our program, not only are they able to learn a valuable life skill, but they’re also able to demonstrate it,” said O’Reilly.

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Student tax preparer Yancy Nguyen agrees. She says her people skills have also improved through her volunteer work.

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“I was so nervous at first, but now I’m getting more confident,” said Nguyen.

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The Community College of Denver student says her job involves quality review, “I double check everything to make sure it’s correct.”

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Nguyen volunteers at one of two tax sites located on Denver’s Auraria Campus. There are 30 locations throughout Colorado.

LINK: Tax Help Colorado

Tori Mason