The Ivy College of Business is participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program again this year. Volunteer accounting students will assist taxpayers with household annual incomes less than $57,000 with free basic tax return preparation services. Appointments will be offered from 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays from Feb. 24 to April 14.
The VITA program is managed by the IRS and has operated for over 50 years. According to the IRS website, VITA is a reliable and trusted source for preparing tax returns.
Chris Moon, graduate student in accounting and coordinator of the college’s participation in the VITA program, is currently meeting with the volunteer accounting students to help them get the certification from the IRS they need in order to prepare tax returns. Moon said the experience the students receive from volunteering is worth the required preparation.
“I feel like they walk away from this with a better understanding of what it actually means to practice [accounting],” Moon said.
Moon also said this is a valuable experience for the accounting students because not only are they learning how to do tax preparations, they are also learning the client service necessary for this job from meeting with their clients one-on-one.
“It is a real-world experience in a classroom setting,” Moon said.
Ian Porter, graduate student in accounting with a specialization in taxes, volunteered for the program last year and also said it was a valuable experience for him.
"[The experience] was a really good jumping-off point for going into the tax field," Porter said.
Porter said one of the most important things he learned from the experience was how to explain complicated accounting topics to inexperienced clients.
"It was a really good learning experience because I know what these different accounting terms mean, but the clients don't, so it was a good test of my knowledge to have to be able to explain the [process of tax preparation] to people that are unfamiliar with it," Porter said.
Due to COVID-19, appointments this year will be conducted virtually, and all necessary documents will be delivered electronically. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Ivy College of Business website.
The IRS also provides a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program that provides free tax help for people that are 60 years of age and older (the Ivy College of Business does not participate in this program). The TCE program specializes in pension and retirement-related issues. For more information about the TCE program, visit the IRS website.