ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord University students and faculty offered free tax return preparation to qualifying individuals again this year through VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA is sponsored by the IRS and is provided free of charge to individuals generally making $58,000 or less annually.
Students received training using IRS materials and took certification tests in order to show they understand tax law before they began preparing returns. This year, Concord had 17 students registered in the class. Many of these student volunteers are accounting majors.
The VITA Volunteer of the Year was Bethany Burks of Bluefield, W.Va. Bethany was honored for her outstanding work as a volunteer completing tax returns. There were also five distinguished volunteers, Haven Chapman, Beaver, W.Va., Savannah Groom, Princeton, W.Va., Sydni Lynch, Princeton, W.Va., Aubrie Peyton, Princeton, W.Va., and Alex Watty, Christiansburg, Va.
Other first-year volunteer students included Breanne Fields, Princeton, W.Va., John Forinash, Beckley, W.Va., Ella Goodwin, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Chasity Humphrey, Oak Hill, W.Va., John Merica, Bridgeport, W.Va., Bryce Mutterback, Princeton, W.Va., Gavin Pruett, Narrows, Va., Trey Spence, Peterstown, W.Va., Keegan Webb, Oak Hill, W.Va., and second-year volunteer students Danielle McCoy, Princeton, W.Va., and Emily Peck, Princeton, W.Va.
Full-time faculty members Dr. Logan Browning and Dr. Kenroy Wedderburn also volunteered, along with Ms. Shelly Stump, who served as the VITA Site Coordinator.
Students volunteered over 500 total hours in return preparation. More than 250 individuals received the service with 241 federal returns and 238 state returns efiled. Returns were prepared at CU’s Athens campus and for the Commission on Aging in Princeton.
“The VITA program is so beneficial to our community,” Stump said. “Through this free program, individuals in our community had their returns prepared free of charge.”
“The community seemed so appreciative of our efforts,” she added. “I can’t thank the community enough for taking advantage of our services. This provides a valuable learning experience for our students.”
In appreciation for the community service that the students provided, Dr. Kendra Boggess hosted a reception at the President’s House on April 12. At that time, Ms. Stump presented a plaque to Bethany Burks as the VITA Volunteer of the Year and honored the five distinguished volunteers. Each student who volunteered received a certificate of participation and a VITA pin.