College of Business VITA program

Jusitn Senecaut

Starting Feb. 19, the College of Business is holding its annual VITA program. 

VITA is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. It is a volunteer program, run by graduate and undergraduate accounting students and is sponsored by Beta Alpha Psi, the Greek business organization here on campus.

“Any student can volunteer to help with VITA. You don’t have to be a Beta Alpha Psi member,” said Jeremy Burkle, VITA chair for Beta Alpha Psi. 

However, you have to be an accounting major.

VITA is run by accounting major students, and these students are taking a one-credit accounting 487 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance class. This class helps the students get real world experience of how tax preparations go.

Even though this tax preparation is through students, there is no need to worry.

“The IRS has requirement certifications to volunteering. The students have to be certified to volunteer, and this is done through the accounting 487 class,” said Bill Dilla, Associate Professor of Accounting who teaches the accounting 487 class and coordinates the VITA program.

The IRS makes sure that there are certain situations that will not happen, avoiding errors.

“The tax forms get reviewed at least once. The more complex tax forms will get reviewed at least twice,” Dilla said.

Dilla also stated that over the last couple years clients have dropped, but that is due to the clients who used to go to VITA now using the free tax preparations that are online.

They also have clients that have more complex tax forms that can’t use free tax forms online because of their complexity, like adding sold stock to pay for college or people who are self-employed.

“VITA uses software on a computer that helps with filing taxes, and the software used is similar to the software used by professional tax filers,” Dilla said. This is how VITA can do the same thing as a professional company.

Dilla said this program has been around for at least 25 years, and this program isn’t just for students, but also for the community.

There are requirements to use the VITA program. Household income has to be less than $51,000, and their tax forms can’t be too complex.

The College of Business website warns that VITA volunteers may not be able to provide assistance to all people.

VITA is only open for a little under a month, from Feb. 19 through April 11, and they are closed during spring break, March 18 through 22. Go to the VITA webpage and set up an appointment to get taxes completed, and look at forms need for the appointment.

It is open 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.