Kathy Hurley received word from the IRS that her spring ACCT 485 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) completed the most tax returns and assisted the most clients of any site in the region. Through this one credit course in the College of Business and Economics, Hurley’s 14 students and three volunteers prepared tax returns for low-income individuals and households.
This is the fourth year the accounting department has offered this course, which integrates service-learning methodology and provides valuable hands-on learning experiences. Throughout tax season, students firm up their basic knowledge of federal tax rules and regulations; learn to interview taxpayers to obtain critical information to prepare an accurate tax return; learn the diversity of each taxpayer’s situation; and practice using tax preparation software. Students also gain leadership and logistical skills as they have an active role in weekly site set-up, operations management and planning for continuous improvement. Students develop professional skills through client interaction, practice ethical behavior and exhibit the responsibilities inherent in the preparation of individual income tax returns. By working with a culturally and economically diverse population, students become aware of the benefits and rewards of civic engagement and providing valuable services to their community.
Hurley credits not only her students but also the Boise Public Library for being her community partner and providing a perfect location for a VITA site.