Baylor Accounting Students Join Community Outreach Program to Provide Free Tax Preparation
WACO, Texas (Feb. 10, 2023) – This tax season, more than 60 accounting students from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business are joining University High School and La Vega High School students in the student-led Volunteer Income Assistance (VITA) Program.
VITA offers free tax preparation to families in McLennan County to ensure they receive tax benefits like the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Baylor accounting students have participated in the VITA program since 2008.
Every Tuesday and Thursday through mid-April, residents will be able to have their taxes prepared by student volunteers and quality reviewed by experienced tax preparers. The in-person program will take place at University High School, 3201 N. New Road, and at various La Vega ISD school campuses.
Anyone wanting to obtain this service should bring a photo identification (ID) card such as a driver’s license, State ID Card or passport/Matrícula Consular card to the VITA location. They also will need a Social Security card, or ITIN, and any relevant tax documents, including a W2 or 1099.
For Hankamer School of Business graduate program director and clinical professor Tim Thomasson, B.B.A. ’91, M.T.A. ’92, CPA, the program is a win-win for the students.
“Our students have a desire to serve, and through this program, they also gain invaluable experience interacting directly with taxpayers, while applying technical skills learned in the classroom,” Thomasson said.
Baylor accounting students expect to prepare over 500 tax returns with most of the returns resulting in refunds to individuals who will really benefit from the additional funds, Thomasson added.
“It is just not possible to replicate this real-world environment in the classroom. Participation in VITA by our accounting majors is also an excellent opportunity to interact and mentor students still in high school,” he said.
University High School has participated in the tax-preparation program for 19 years, with its certified volunteers helping prepare more than 24,000 tax returns resulting in over $45 million in refunds since its inception.
"Students get experience filing taxes and learning to provide good customer service and the community benefits from getting the most out of their tax returns," said Andrew Pierce, University High School business teacher and VITA sponsor.
In 2021, La Vega’s VITA program was named the New Recruit of the Year by the IRS after completing almost 400 tax returns in its first year.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business strives to further God’s kingdom through the realm of business, using God-given gifts and academic talents to do so. Faculty and students conduct purposeful research and participate in experiential learning opportunities, all while operating in a Christ-centered mission. Undergraduate students can choose from 13 major areas of study. Graduate students can earn their MBA on their terms, either through the full-time, online or a Dallas-based executive program. The Business School also offers three Ph.D. programs in Information Systems, Entrepreneurship or Health Services Research. The School’s top-ranked programs make up approximately 25% of the University’s total enrollment. Visit hankamer.baylor.edu for more information.