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Taxpayer Help

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Taxpayer Help

Taxpayer Help

Dedicating Saturdays and evenings to completing tax forms has little appeal for anyone. Still, nine Greenville College accounting students each committed about 100 hours this tax season to preparing federal and state returns for low-income families. They realized about $1M in tax refunds for their clients, plus an estimated $150,000 savings in tax preparation fees.

"We all have different gifts," explains project leader, Associate Professor of Management Larry Sayler. "This is an important way our students can utilize their quantitative strengths in something tangible and significant."

The students volunteer at the Alton Area Tax Project, a free tax service to qualified, low-income clients. "An important goal is to help as many people as possible receive free tax services," says David Thies, site manager. "The students are bright and fast. You tell them one time, and they've got it."

GC's students owe their expertise to completing a class in tax theory during Interterm and earning certification as volunteer income tax assistants. Their contributions, however, go beyond number crunching.

"The students quickly develop positive relationships with clients," says Thies. "They are cheerful and go out of their way to be helpful." He points out student Ikeem Mattison, the veteran preparer among this year's students. "Ikeem has a great sense of humor and makes tax preparation fun."

At day's end, student Jaimee Joiner counts more than the refund dollars she has helped her clients realize; she counts her blessings. "The other volunteers are such a blessing to me," she says. "They all have wonderful hearts."

Does the Apostle Peter's encouragement to "use whatever gift you have received to serve others" include tax preparation? Sayler's students have no doubt that their skills meet others' needs. "When people serve as part of Christ's body, it shines through," says Jaimee. "I see it shine through the other volunteers and I hope it shines through me."

Jaimee's reflection is a welcome reminder that even mundane forms like W2s and 1040s can fill a heavenly purpose.

 

This story was published on April 15, 2013




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