Whatcom students provide pro bono professional services

Learning doesn’t end at the classroom for students in Whatcom’s accounting and finance program. These students polish their skills and knowledge in service to the community.

With the guidance of the accounting and finance program coordinator, pre-qualified students participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, providing free assistance with tax return preparation. Training on basic tax law and the preparation of individual tax returns is provided and students are required to pass the VITA certification exam. A certified public accountant or enrolled agent reviews all returns and is on hand to address complex issues. The VITA program is sponsored by the IRS and, in Whatcom County, by WWU’s Beta Alpha Psi and Accounting Society and the WCC Business Club.

VITA is offered on Whatcom’s campus annually for approximately two months leading up to the April 15 income tax due date. In 2015 (the fourth year VITA was offered at Whatcom), tax returns were prepared for 113 clients (up from 86 the year prior); 25 students participated, each committing at least three hours per week for the duration of the program.

 

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