By the University at Buffalo
During the 2023 tax season, 85 IRS-certified accounting students from the University at Buffalo School of Management brought nearly $240,000 back into the Buffalo community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
It took several years to rebuild the momentum of the UB School of Management’s student-run tax service after the coronavirus pandemic forced students to end their season early in March 2020.
“We had a couple of challenging years, especially with many of our student volunteers taking classes remotely,” said Adam Wyckoff, a student in the school’s Master of Science in accounting program and head of the VITA program at the School of Management. “And the logistics of safety, distancing, masking and vaccines added an additional layer of complications.”
This year, however, students from the UB Accounting Association and UB’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honors organization for accounting and finance students and professionals, led the initiative that provided more than 1,600 hours of tax service, preparing 287 tax returns for individuals and families with annual incomes below $60,000.
Nearly $70,000 of the total was a result of the Earned Income Credit, which targets low-income families in need of additional financial support.
“Rebuilding this vital service has taken a great deal of effort for our students,” said Ananth Iyer, dean of the UB School of Management. “In addition to their class loads and other responsibilities, student volunteers worked virtually every weekend since January, and we celebrate their impact on our community.”
Cumulatively, School of Management student volunteers have brought more than $13 million in tax refunds back into the region over the past eight years by preparing more than 10,000 tax returns. Approximately $2.7 million was from the Earned Income Credit.