Students Help Bronx Residents Navigate Tax Season

Manhattan College students are working with the Northwest Bronx Resource Center to assist the local community with their income taxes.

VITA program at UNHPWith the arrival of tax season, Manhattan College students in the School of Business have partnered with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center’s University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) to provide tax preparation services to Bronx residents free of charge.

This year, Manhattan College’s School of Business trained and certified 48 student volunteers who completed three IRS VITA certification exams — Code of Conduct, Intake/Quality Review Standards and Basic Tax Law.

“Having our students participate in the VITA Program is a terrific blend of the College’s mission,” says Aileen Lowry Farrelly, CPA, M.S., assistant dean and assistant professor in the School of Business. “These students gain valuable professional and technical skills, then use those skills to help our community with their tax returns. It is a perfect combination of learning and service.”

Since 2010, Manhattan College students have collaborated with other New York City college students to help UNHP file taxes for more than 9,000 families. In 2016, with support from UNHP partners and 38 Manhattan College students, the program’s volunteers prepared 1,555 returns and helped Bronx residents receive $1.9 million in fee-free refunds.

The VITA program offers free tax preparation assistance to qualified families with an income of $54,000 or less and individuals with a gross income below $30,000. Filers with an income of $64,000 or less can also prepare their own returns online alongside a tax professional. The UNHP income tax preparation program helps qualified taxpayers avoid costly tax preparation fees and predatory products while empowering low and moderate income filers to master the tax filing process and federal and state credits.

Interested individuals should visit or call UNHP at 718-933-2539 to determine if they qualify for this service. The 2017 tax program will be held at UNHP (2715 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10458) on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. by appointment only until April 8.

By Pete McHugh