BYU Accounting Students Offer Free Tax Assistance Through VITA Lab

PROVO, Utah – Feb 26, 2014 – Putting in extra hours after class can be tiring, but this semester Brigham Young University student volunteers are gaining valuable experience and giving meaningful service at the largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in the country.

The Marriott School of Management’s annual VITA lab provides a free tax preparation service to students and community members with annual incomes of less than $52,000. Student volunteers expect to prepare more than 2,000 returns and yield close to $3 million in tax refunds at this year’s lab, which started in January and runs through March 28 in room 332 of the Tanner Building.

“The VITA lab gives students a setting to apply the skills they are learning in the classroom to clients with real needs,” says Cassy Budd, associate professor and VITA lab adviser. “From a professional development perspective, I’ve never seen anything work better for students.”

In addition to helping students put their accounting education to the test, the lab provides a great way for students to give back to the community. VITA, which is a program of the IRS, operates sites all across the country. BYU’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, a national accounting honor society, is facilitating the on-campus program. Jordan Kerr, chapter president, believes that the service offered at VITA sites benefits the volunteers as much as those they serve.

“One of the reasons I decided to go into tax accounting was to advocate for clients and that is exactly what we do in the VITA lab,” says Kerr, a first-year MAcc student from Maple Valley, Utah. “I have a greater sense of satisfaction from this service than from a lot of other opportunities because I feel like I am impacting lives of individuals in need.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Carpenter