Accounting Students’ Tax Clinic Yields $75K in Refunds in Second Week
February 15, 2016
Last year, TLU students, through the university’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic, helped Seguin residents file 102 returns netting $102,449 for the 2014 tax year. This year, they’re on target to exceed that number with 43 returns completed in just the second week of the clinic.
Business and Economics Professor Sally Cook said the VITA clinic is a great way for accounting students to gain hands-on experience while providing a needed service to the Seguin community. “As of February 10, the clinic has already generated almost $75,000 in refunds for local taxpayers.”
The free program offers tax help generally to people with a combined household income of $62,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own returns. According to the IRS, more than 90,000 certified people nationwide volunteered during the 2015 tax season, preparing a total of 3.7 million returns.
Allison McKee, a master of accountancy student from Seguin, has been the university’s VITA site coordinator for the past two years and is excited to be part of a program that is helping her hometown.
“It’s not only super rewarding to see the happiness and relief people have when we help them, but it’s also preparing me professionally to interact with clients. This hands-on experience is more valuable than anything in a textbook,” said McKee.
Jasmine Smith, who’s also in the master’s program, said students are nervous at first, especially when they walk into a room full of people waiting for help. She said the clinic allows students to communicate and offer assistance to individuals who do not understand the reasons and rules behind performing a tax return. “Regardless of how nervous and uncomfortable you may be at first, you learn to love it.”
The clinics will run through April 13, 2016 on Wednesdays 5 - 7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the lower level (room 5) of the Beck building on the TLU campus.
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