Starting in February, students from Niagara University's College of Business Administration will once again provide free tax preparation assistance to members of the Niagara Falls community.
In 2012 - the 31st year that the university offered the program - Niagara students helped local residents file 479 tax returns, totaling more than $575,000 in federal and state refunds.
Assistant accounting professor James Ingham said he was proud of the 77 students who contributed more than 860 volunteer hours to the program last year, his first as coordinator. This tax season, Ingham said he hopes that Niagara can - as the university's mantra suggests - "do more."
"When we talk about creating an educational environment that is enhanced through service and experiential learning, this is exactly what we mean," said Ingham, who owns an MBA and is a certified public accountant. "It's wonderful to offer this service to people who may not be able to afford a professional accountant, and it gives our students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they've acquired in the classroom to the real world."
Sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service, the program, called volunteer income tax assistance, or VITA, is entering its 32nd year at Niagara. Under the program, NU students prepare and electronically file federal and state tax returns free of charge for elderly and low-income taxpayers in the community. The program is coordinated by members of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor society for accounting, and the college's Accounting Society.
Beginning Feb. 12, assistance will be provided from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. at Niagara University (St. Vincent's Hall, Room 207) on the following dates:
Sessions will also be held at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building (3001 9th St., Niagara Falls) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the following Wednesdays:
No appointments are needed to participate in this free service.
Niagara University's VITA program has garnered national accolades from Beta Alpha Psi, an organization with more than 300,000 members in 300 chapters on college and university campuses around the world.
For more information, call 716-286-8050 or visit www.niagara.edu.