News - Accounting Students Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

Accounting Students Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

Accounting Students Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

For the third year, Greenville College Accounting students are partnering with the Center for Economic Progress to offer free assistance to low income families to complete tax returns. This year, 15 Greenville students will assist approximately 700 families in Alton and East St. Louis prepare federal and state income tax returns to obtain refunds totaling about $1.4 million.

The IRS has established what is known as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to help low income families with the ever increasing complexity of tax forms. The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) is an Illinois not-for-profit organization which offers disadvantaged people a variety of financial planning aids and employment assistance. During tax season, the CEP relies on volunteers to staff these centers and prepare and review tax returns.

"This is an excellent opportunity for our students to realize how they can utilize their expertise in accounting and taxes to serve others," explains Associate Professor of Management Dr. Larry Sayler. Greenville College Accounting majors take a course in Income Tax Theory during Interterm to review tax regulations, filing requirements, and refundable credits. During the spring semester students put this knowledge to use by volunteering at the CEP tax centers. In return for their time, the students receive class credit for Tax Applications. While the assisted families could use paid tax preparers, Greenville College student volunteers save these families about $140,000 in tax preparation fees.

"We all have different gifts and abilities and have various opportunities to help others," says Sayler. "This is an important way these GC students can utilize their quantitative strengths in something that is tangible and significant."

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This story was published on February 14, 2011

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