Each year, the Master of Accounting Program organizes the Volunteer Income Assistant (VITA) program to help local individuals file their Federal and state income taxes. We, as volunteers, go to a site twice a week to help individuals who have made appointments.
Most of the tax preparers are either enrolled in the MAcc program or undergraduate accounting students. In order to be certified to help file taxes, we need to pass at least four different exams.
The VITA program not only helps the public to file their taxes for free but also helps our students to apply in-class knowledge to the real world. It prepares our MAcc students to be more comfortable communicating with the clients and to improve various “soft skills” which are necessary when we start our professional job.
It is definitely rewarding to see what you prepared then get approved– and, in some cases, result in tax refunds deposited to the clients’ accounts. It was a little more difficult when clients would have tax due, meaning that they didn’t have enough tax withheld during the year and they needed to pay the IRS out of pocket. We needED to be very careful about how to deliver the message.
Besides the VITA program, the MAcc Council also organizes other community service events to do our best helping the local organizations and to take part in fun activitiesin and around Columbus.