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Manhattan College Students Volunteer with VITA Program To Offer Free Tax Services
Business students work with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center for the rest of tax season.
For the seventh year in a row, students from Manhattan College’s School of Business are partnering with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide tax preparation services to local Bronx residents this tax season. The Northwest Bronx Resource Center in the Fordham Bedford section of the Bronx sponsors the VITA program for qualified residents, University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) partners with Fordham Bedford Community Services, Ariva Inc., and local schools to make it all possible.
“Manhattan College’s students participation in the VITA Program is a perfect expression of the Lasallian mission in action,” says Aileen Lowry Farrelly, CPA, M.S., assistant dean and assistant professor in the School of Business. Students are able to gain valuable professional and technical skills through training, and use those skills to assist underprivileged individuals and families with their tax returns. It is a perfect combination of learning and service.”
The VITA program offers free tax preparation assistance to qualified families with an income of $53,000 or less and individuals with a gross income below $30,000 (these guidelines apply in the Fordham Bedford section of the Bronx, but income limits may differ at other VITA locations). The free income tax preparation service allows qualified taxpayers to avoid expensive tax preparation fees and interest rates.
Student volunteers not only help local residents but also receive valuable accounting experience. All volunteers complete an IRS certification program, which develops the necessary skills required to prepare taxes, and software training covering a range of tax credits and New York State tax filing. Since the VITA program first started at Manhattan College in 2010, approximately 200 students have participated.
In 2015, the VITA program at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center resulted in more than $1.9 million in fee-free refunds (1700 returns) to Bronx residents. For more than eight years, UNHP and its partner organizations have helped over 8,151 households file their taxes for free and keep $9.4 million in tax credits.
Free income tax preparation is available for qualified Bronx residents on select Wednesdays (Feb. 17 and 24, March 9 and 30, and April 6 and 13) from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays (Feb. 20 and 27, March 5, and April 2 and 9) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through early April.
Contact the VITA program at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center by phone at (718) 933-2539 for more information and visit UNHP.org to learn more about the program. Qualifying Manhattan College students and employees are also welcome to visit the Northwest Bronx Resource Center or another city location.