Business Students from UMass Amherst Offer Free Tax Preparation Service to Local Residents

April 7, 1999

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AMHERST, Mass. - Student volunteers from the University of Massachusetts are offering free tax assistance to local residents at the Hampshire Mall in Hadley and to UMass international students, faculty, and staff at the Isenberg School of Management building on the Amherst campus.

The service to residents is available at the mall in the community room near the information desk on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Students offer help for international students, faculty, and staff on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Isenberg School of Management. On Mondays and Wednesdays they are in Room 111, and Tuesdays in Room 10. The program will run through April 15, the final day to file state and federal tax returns.

The students are working in the "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance," or VITA program this year, according to Michael J. Whiteman, visiting associate professor of accounting and information systems, who is coordinating the effort. Most are undergraduate accounting majors who have studied tax law and see VITA as a way to obtain valuable practical experience in the field, Whiteman says. Participating students receive one credit for their work, and two students who oversee the project receive three credits, he says.

The Isenberg School of Management''s department of accounting has offered the VITA program for the past decade, Whiteman says, as a way to help the local community and to give students experience dealing with a wide range of issues facing taxpayers and tax professionals.