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East Central University and the School of Business are pleased to announce that ECU will once again participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program this year.

VITA is a national program, supported by the Internal Revenue Service, which is designed to provide free tax assistance to individuals with basic tax returns, particularly those with low and fixed incomes.

The returns will be completed in the VITA center, located at 1001 N. Country Club Road (site of the old Carl Albert Indian Hospital). These returns will be e-filed. ECU students, along with other volunteers, will provide this service.

The VITA site opened on Jan. 28.

In February, the operational days are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (excluding holidays). In March, the hours are Monday and Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

During the first week of April, the days will be Monday and Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. On the second week of April, the days will be Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The last day the site will be open is Monday, April 15th.

“I see the program as a win-win situation,” said Ed Hobbs, Horne and Company Professor of Accounting, at the ECU School of Business. “It is a benefit to the community, ECU and the students. The people in the community get a useful experience. ECU gets some community recognition and, most important for me, the students get invaluable real world hands-on experience dealing with clients.”

According to Hobbs, the student volunteers are advanced majors who have taken ECU’s individual income tax course. They have attended classes, using materials provided by the IRS, to assist them in identifying and understanding issues they will likely encounter at the VITA center.

“They have received training on the tax software they will be using. They have also taken and passed three IRS VITA certification exams,” Hobbs said. “It is apparent to me that these students are highly motivated to both excel in their future profession and provide assistance, where needed, to their local communities.”

ECU students working as tax volunteers include: Linda Choate, of Sasakwa; Logan Dillon, of Ringling; Kimberly Fleming, of Stuart; Kia Franklin, of Okemah; Noah Hahn, of Shawnee; Heidi Harkins, of Ada; Monica Jacobi, of Sterling; Milan Khadka, of Kathmandu, Nepal; December Morrison, of Ada; Sapfire Reynolds; and Consuelo Splawn, of Antlers.

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