Accounting Students At GTC Make Sizable Impact Through VITA program
Students in an advanced accounting class at Greenville Technical College prepare tax returns for the community through the United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program each Spring Semester. Through the effort, which began in 2012, students complete IRS Advanced Certification and tax software training during Fall Semester and several weeks before tax season begins during Spring Semester, complete process training.
This year, 325 returns were filed saving the taxpayers involved $65,000 in tax preparation fees and allowing them to receive state and federal refunds totaling $412,230. The 37 students who participated contributed 507 volunteer hours to the effort, and the faculty who supervised them contributed another 188 volunteer hours. Over seven years, the VITA effort at Greenville Technical College has assisted with 2,336 returns, saving $467,200 in tax preparation fees and allowing for refunds of over $2 million.
United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free income tax assistance to thousands of individuals and families with a household income of $60,000 or less. IRS-trained and certified volunteers serve at 40 locations across the Upstate to help participants receive all eligible tax credits and deductions.
“The VITA program gives our students real world experience while it benefits the community,” said Kim Silver, program coordinator for Accounting at Greenville Technical College. “Over the seven years we’ve been part of this initiative, we’ve been able to make a real difference for the people we assist while our students apply their knowledge outside of the classroom."