Students Volunteer to Help People with Taxes
Eva Ramirez is considering becoming a certified public accountant.
She knows this time of year would be busy as a CPA. So she’s practicing now on weekends as a volunteer preparing taxes for people through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which Dalton State has been a part of for seven years now.
“I want to get the experience now,” said Ramirez, a junior accounting major at Dalton State. “I’ve really been using the knowledge I’ve gotten from my classes while volunteering. I like to help others, and this is a way to do it with my skill set.”
Jamie Connors, assistant professor of accounting, oversees the volunteers and coordinates Dalton State’s involvement with VITA. VITA provides free tax help to people who make less than $54,000 a year, people with disabilities, or people who speak limited English. All volunteers are IRS-certified.
Many of Connors’ accounting students volunteer, as well as several of her former students. Approximately 40 students and alumni volunteer for the program which runs through March 11. Georgia United Credit Union provides office space and funding for the program.
“This is very helpful,” said Hollie Taylor, a Dalton resident utilizing the free program. “At tax services you have to pay so much, but this is free. We were referred by a friend and we were so glad to hear about this.”
Oscar Cortez graduated from Dalton State with a degree in accounting last spring. He now works as a cost analysis at Beaulieu. This is his third year volunteering to do taxes through VITA.
“It’s a great experience, and it’s something I enjoy doing,” Cortez said. “It allows me to meet people and help them. I enjoy volunteering. I’ll be back next year, too.”
Connors hopes students learn how important it is to volunteer and give back to their community.
“Plus, this is good for their resume,” she said. “This builds their confidence, and helps them know they have the knowledge they need to succeed when they graduate.”
The volunteers are available Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgia Credit Union, 605 Calhoun St. in Dalton.
To make an appointment, visit gucu.org/membership/vita-tax-prep.