Students help 120 taxpayers file returns through VITA service

Published 06.09.2020

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Despite a shortened window of opportunity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 Pennsylvania College of Technology student volunteers helped taxpayers file 120 2019 tax returns through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

The free service, known as VITA, is designed to help taxpayers who have relatively uncomplicated income tax returns to prepare their returns and file electronically.

Penn College students majoring in accounting, applied management, business administration: banking and finance concentration, and business administration: management concentration staffed a VITA site in the college’s Madigan Library from Feb. 2 to March 7, under the supervision of Bob Nolan, instructor of accounting. Prior to the site’s opening, each received required IRS training, becoming IRS-certified to prepare tax returns.

“Due to the move to online instruction and closure of much of the campus, the tax season was shortened for our VITA lab this year,” Nolan said.

A few students volunteered to return to campus during a Spring Break extension to prepare “the last handful” of tax returns for taxpayers who had dropped their information off just before Spring Break, Nolan explained.

In total, the refunds received by the clients who visited the college’s VITA site was $173,998.

“This is such a valuable experience for students, as they not only get some hands-on practice preparing tax returns for clients, they also have the opportunity to develop and work on the soft skills, such as interacting with the taxpayers to go over questions and to go over their tax returns with them,” Nolan said.

Penn College offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in accounting, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with concentrations in banking and finance, marketing, management, and sport and event management. The accounting degrees are available both on campus and online. To learn more, call 570-327-4505 or visit the School of Business, Arts & Sciences.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.