This tax season, three Waynesburg University students are participating in a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program through Blueprints, a local nonprofit organization.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program helps Greene County and Washington County residents complete and file their federal, Pennsylvania and local income tax returns, free of charge.
“This service is important for the community; it is also important for the students,” Bill Stough, assistant professor of business administration, said. “I hope that it impacts their own lives by the impact they have on others’ lives.”
Prior to starting the program, student volunteers are required to receive a basic level certification from the IRS. Once that is complete, they can begin virtually assisting Blueprint clients with their tax returns.
“This semester the students will be following COVID-19 protocols to keep them safe. They will be reviewing client information and preparing their tax returns online,” Stough said.
Three students are participating in the program:
- Andrew Evans, sophomore criminal justice administration major from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
- Audrey Doby, junior forensic accounting major from Finleyville, Pennsylvania
- Colsen Liney, junior cybersecurity forensic major from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
In addition to the service these students are providing the community, the program will serve as a means for professional development.
“I think this program will help me professionally because in any field in criminal justice, you have to be able to communicate with people and help any way you can. So, meeting with these taxpayers that need the help will boost my communication skills and will give me financial lessons,” Evans said.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program not only provides an outlet for students to hone their tax return and communication skills but also allows them to share these skills with others in the community.
“I hope that the students realize they are making a difference in someone's life with the skills they have,” Stough said.
Blueprints, formerly Community Action Southwest, is a non-profit organization that serves 20,000 residents in Greene County, Washington County, and West Virginia. The organization’s 50 programs act as catalysts to mobilize the resources of the entire community, enabling families and individuals to attain the skills, knowledge, motivations, and opportunities to become self-sufficient.
About Waynesburg University
Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with an additional site for graduate and professional studies in Southpointe. The University is one of only 22 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.