Free Western Sydney University Tax Clinic making tax time a less taxing experience

With tax time upon us, Western Sydney University’s Tax Clinic is once again offering a helping hand with free tax services – particularly for unrepresented, lower income or vulnerable taxpayers and small businesses in our communities.

Established in 2019, the Tax Clinic is facilitated through the University’s School of Business. Not only does the Clinic work to help and strengthen the financial literacy skills of its clients, it also provides invaluable hands-on professional experience for current accounting students working at the clinic supervised by experienced academic staff who are also registered tax agents.

Dr Connie Vitale, co-founder and manager of the University’s Tax Clinic, says students at the clinic undergo intensive training using case studies based on common issues and tax software to hone their skills before applying them to real world clients.

“A lot of people feel overwhelmed when it comes to taxation and financial matters, but our Tax Clinic is here to help clients work through these problems so you will hopefully leave realising it is not so daunting after all,” Dr Vitale said.

“Some people don’t seek professional taxation assistance because of cost, so we have removed that barrier to help make financial advice and literacy accessible for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable in our community,” she said.

Since it was established, the Tax Clinic has helped over 330 individual taxpayers and 140 small businesses, lodging over 900 tax returns and business activity statements.

Its success has ensured the clinic has received $600,000 in funding until December 2024 from the Australian Government’s National Tax Clinic Program.

Dr Vitale says the Western Sydney University Tax Clinic assists the Australian Taxation Office in highlighting systemic issues with current processes and ATO legislation, helping to inform more streamlined policies and reducing ‘red tape’ for vulnerable clients facing barriers to assistance.

“We have conducted applied research with taxpayers and students, with the key findings showing our Tax Clinic experience has improved students’ self-efficacy across all measured key areas, whilst taxpayers report leaving our clinic feeling more confident and informed,” said Dr Vitale.

“Our free tax clinic is an inclusive project connecting our vulnerable clients with Government services such as Centrelink, and charities such as Wesley Mission, Salvation Army, and financial counselling services for those needing extra assistance,” she said.

To be eligible for the free services of the Western Sydney University Tax Clinic, you must:

  • Be currently unrepresented (do not have a tax agent)
  • Be an individual or small business entity.

Appointments are available every Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10.00am - 2.00pm, via Zoom, or face-to-face at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta City campus (Level 5).

To make an appointment, email thetaxclinic@westernsydney.edu.au or for more information please visit the Tax Clinic webpage (opens in a new window).

ENDS

4 July 2022

Danielle Aiken, Media Officer