Springtime for most people means it’s also tax time. The Division of Business offers free tax service for qualified individuals through the federally subsidized Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which was set up to help filers avoid hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees, according to Candice Roché Boucree, the site coordinator for the on-campus tax center.

The Internal Revenue Service supports VITA, and Xavier business and accounting majors run it. To qualify, the filer must have an income of $53,000 or less, Roché Boucree said.The tax service is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Xavier South, room 211. The service ends April 10.

“[The program] fits perfectly with the Division of Business’ mission to prepare tomorrow’s socially responsible business leaders,” Roché Boucree said. The tax program trains students to assist under-served communities and student volunteers gain valuable experience that they can add to their résumés, Roché Boucree, who is a certified public accountant, said.

Students who filed their taxes in February praised the help and patience they received from the VITA volunteers. The volunteers said they alsoget as much satisfaction in providing the free service.

Erin Ancar, a junior accounting major, said tax time can be confusing and complicated. Ancar, who is the student coordinator, said volunteers pay special attention to certain tax codes geared toward credits for students that may be overlooked at other paid tax assistance companies. The student volunteers exercise caution to make sure every form is filled out correctly, Ancar said.

The service is not just about getting taxes done but also about helping the community in the best way possible, Ancar said.

“It goes back to the school’s mission statement about giving back to our community,”Ancar explained. She said she is most excited to see customers earn their refunds.

The skills the VITA volunteers gain are also invaluable,according to Dahlia Daniel, a junioraccounting major. Volunteers spend hours learning about the many tax-related codes needed to file and how to make the filing process easier for anyone who comes in.

“We know what we’re doing,”Daniel said,who added that the students had no need to fear the process of filing taxes.“You might get some extra money you didn’t know you would receive.”

     Complete information about VITA, client qualifications, what to take to a meeting, and FAQs is online at www.xula.edu/vita or from Candice RochéBoucree, CPA, at 504.520.6725.

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