Each spring, IRS-certified accounting students from the University at Buffalo School of Management provide free tax preparation services to individuals and families with annual incomes below $50,000.
The tax preparation service is provided by the UB Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honorary organization for financial information students and professionals. Services are provided on the university's North and South Campuses through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
In 2012, 126 IRS-certified accounting students from the University at Buffalo School of Management brought $1,353,406 back into the Buffalo community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Nearly $262,000 of the total was a result of the Earned Income Credit, which targets low-income families in need of additional financial support.
Western New York residents and students are encouraged to take advantage of this free service, which, by IRS estimates, can save taxpayers between $100 and $300 in preparation fees.
This service can be especially valuable to low-income tax filers by helping them apply for earned income-tax credits that can provide a needed boost in annual income. The tax credits, which can reduce or completely eliminate income taxes by refunding taxes already withheld from wages, can mean as much as $5,028 for a family with two children.
Cumulatively, School of Management student volunteers have brought more than $4 million in tax refunds back into the Buffalo community over the past four years by preparing more than more than 3,000 tax returns for low-income families. Approximately $725,000 was from the Earned Income Credit.