Several Le Moyne College students are set to start volunteering their time outside of class to make tax season a little more bearable for some people in the community.
They’re part of the VITA program providing free tax return preparation for anyone with a total income under $54,000.
Starting Thursday and running through the end of tax season, the IRS-certified tax preparers will do well over 400 returns.
VITA volunteer Sadina Mehmedovic tells NewsChannel 9, “It kinda hits home for me because I wasn’t born in the United States, I was actually a refugee from Bosnia.”
All students in the program are trained and certified through the IRS to do the work.
VITA volunteer Lindsey Markell says, “VITA is sort of an intervention point where we can step in and say ‘hey, let’s do your taxes for free.’ You can save that $250-$400 and put that away into an emergency savings account.”
Le Moyne College Professor of Accounting Practice Ken Ernst oversees the program, “I see how they progress from one stage to another and they have a different attitude and grow more confident in what they’re able to do and how they’re able to help people.”
Judging by the students it’s not easy to tell who benefits most from the VITA program.
Mehmedovic recalls one person she helped, “He asked if we get paid for this and we said absolutely not, we can take no payment for this but he said thank you, you did a great job and I said that’s payment enough for me.”
“I think I’ll actually continue to do this after college. Community involvement is really important to me and I look for that in my employers.” Markell says.
Le Moyne College is not the only place in the area you can find this free tax preparation by IRS certified preparers.
To find a VITA site near you call 211 or Click here for information on the Onondaga County CASH Coalition.