Can teenagers prepare your taxes? These can, plus it's free

Ribault, other Jacksonville high school students trained, supervised

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While some people fill out their own tax returns and others go to tax preparers, there's a way to get your taxes done by free in a unique program at Ribault High School students in Jacksonville.

Rodney Kirtsey kept an appointment Wednesday to get his taxes done. He signed in and gave his tax information to Physehia Jones, even though he was about half his age.

"I was surprised to see a teen, but he handled himself and he knows what he's doing and has great teachers here," Kirtsey said.

Through a partnership with the VyStar Academy and United Way, about 100 students completed a four-week training program with the Internal Revenue Service and passed advanced-level tax preparation certification exams. It's giving them new life skills.

"Practical things that they can use after high school for the future to help with their financial literacy goals," said Phyleshia Jones, program director, Vystar Academy of Business and Finance.

Jones oversees the appointments, but the work is done by the students, including 18-year-old Ke'Zavior Bryant, who wants the community to know the kids are handling the paperwork.

"With all the violence going on, showing some positivity," Bryant said.

In addition to Ribault, similar programs are in place at Fletcher and Wolfson high schools.

"It's going to open up a lot of new avenues for the kids here," Kirtsey said. "It helps me a lot because I had to take care of my taxes. I had some issues and this was something that was free."

Anyone with a household income of $66,000 or less can take advantage of the free tax prep through April 15.

  • At Ribault, appointments are available Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons through April 10. Call 904-924-3092 to make an appointment.
  • To make an appointment at Wolfson, call 904-739-5265 x 245.
  • For an appointment at Fletcher, call 904-247-5905 ext. 1311.

For more information or to find other locations where the United Way offers free tax preparation, visit UnitedWayNEFL.org.

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