ADA – East Central University and the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business will once again participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
VITA is a national program, supported by the Internal Revenue Service, designed to provide free tax assistance to individuals with basic tax returns, particularly those with low and fixed incomes. The returns in the VITA center will be e-filed. ECU students, along with other volunteers, will provide the service.
“I see the program as a win-win situation,” said Ed Hobbs, Horne and Company Professor of Accounting, in ECU’s Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “It is a benefit to the community, ECU, and the students. The people in the community get a useful service, ECU gets some community recognition and, most important to me, the students get invaluable real- world, hands-on experience dealing with clients.”
According to Hobbs, the student volunteers are, in general, advanced accounting 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,” Hobbs said. “They have also taken and passed three IRS VITA certification exams. It is apparent to me that these students are highly motivated to both excel in their profession and to provide assistance, where needed, to their local communities.”
The VITA site, located at 1001 N. Country Club Road in Ada (the old Chickasaw Nation Hospital Building), opened on Feb. 3. The operation schedule for February is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
In March and April, the operations times are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The last day the site will be open is Tuesday, April 15. For more information about VITA, contact Hobbs at 580-559-5267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.