January 21, 2010

Volunteers Provide Free Tax Prep as Community Service

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Volunteers at Case Western Reserve University will get a chance to do vitally important community service and get money to families who most need it by taking part in The Weatherhead Tax Assistance Program.

A required first training session for volunteers is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 201 of the Peter B. Lewis Building. Although advance sign-up is appreciated, walk-ins are also welcome. The training session Saturday will include a provided lunch, a reason advance notice is helpful. Volunteers should bring laptop computers with them.

Anyone on campus can volunteer to help with free tax preparation, and often a big benefit is helping low-income families in the Cleveland area who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit to get funds the federal government makes available to them.

Volunteers also can help international students on campus navigate a tax structure they might not fully understand and might find intimidating. The service is open to anyone in the campus community.

An advanced training session will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 29.

Organizer Rachel Yanich, a Masters of Accountancy student at Weatheread School of Management, says the program gives volunteers valuable experience in tax preparation using software the IRS supplies. Training certification makes possible also volunteering at similar community service tax preparation programs throughout the Cleveland area through The Cuyahoga County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to low-income working adults, and the volunteer effort exists largely because of estimates that between 15 and 20 percent of those eligible, including those with children, do not claim it.

A year ago about 80 people came to the first training session, and Yanich hopes even more will volunteer this year.

"It's a way you can give back a lot, just by doing someone's taxes. They can help people get back some money they might not otherwise even see," Yanich said. "I definitely think volunteering is very beneficial especially if you are an accounting student, because it's hands on experience without doing an internship."

Contact Rachel Yanich for details or go online for further information about the community effort.

For more information contact Marv Kropko, 216.368.6890.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, January 21, 2010 10:02 AM | News Topics: Community Outreach, Faculty, Staff, Students, Weatherhead School of Management

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