“This semester, I had the opportunity to serve in my field with VITA. I was able to volunteer and help individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking who needed assistance, prepare their taxes for FREE. It was a different experience working hands-on versus learning in a classroom…Every person I encountered was so grateful that I was there to help them file their taxes.”
Ashley Pires ’14
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is a strategic partnership between the Charlton College of Business, the Leduc Center, and the Community Economic Development Center (CEDC) in New Bedford, MA. The initiative was designed by the IRS to promote and support free tax preparation service for the underserved, targeting low-to-moderate income individuals (those earning up to $54,000), persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking who need assistance in preparing their tax returns.
Student volunteers, certified by the IRS through a training program, provide free basic income tax return preparation to individuals in the local communities who qualify for the program. In 2016, 20 students volunteered with the VITA Program, helping file 1,700 state and federal tax returns, which resulted in the processing of $3 million in tax refunds.
Who can participate?
Any student who is able to make a 40-hour commitment from early February through mid-April, as well as volunteer at least two days during the week.
What are the requirements to be a VITA member?
Volunteers must attend a mandatory training session and successfully complete the certification test at the end of training in order to work. Returning volunteers must attend the mandatory training session and review any updates in the tax codes. The date and location of the training session will be announced at the beginning of the spring semester.
What responsibilities does a VITA member have?
Volunteers may play multiple roles in the tax preparation process. The Community Economic Development Center has screeners, intake, preparers, quality reviewers, and on-site checkers. Volunteers will be asked to perform many of these tasks. The VITA program also has other opportunities including translators, benefit advocates, and off-site coordinators.
Where can I go to learn more about the VITA Program?
The following link has helpful information about the VITA program and its requirements: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Tax-Volunteers.
How do I apply?
If you are interested in serving as a VITA member, fill out the contact form below and we will be in touch.