VITA program offered record-setting service during tax season

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VITA program offered record-setting service during tax season

April 20, 2011, Whitney Schaefer

${image-alt} Site Coordinator Gloria Hernandez helps prepare a student's tax returns

For nine Saturdays from February through April, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program hosted by Beta Alpha Psi helped nearly 200 people with their tax returns. The student-run accounting society filed 377 Federal and State income tax returns. This marks the most returns completed through the program since it began over twenty-five years ago.

VITA is a national program sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service that provides free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income individuals and families. VITA volunteers are required to pass an exam to be eligible to offer their tax services. The SIUC site’s volunteers are made up of Beta Alpha Psi members and accounting students who are either enrolled in or have already taken an “Introduction to Taxation” class.

Site Coordinator, Amy Lamb, appreciated the help this tax season. "We had great volunteers. Many came to every session and were always willing to do whatever they could to help the people."

During the program, faculty advisor and Assistant Professor of Accounting, Ray Rodriguez, either attended the sessions or was available for phone calls should questions arise. Michelle Rusin, President of Beta Alpha Psi, says he was a big help to the organization. “Ray is an essential resource for us to accomplish such an amazing feat. His guidance allows us to take ownership of what we do without feeling like we're alone in the process.”