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James Boyd
IU Maurer School of Law

Ajay Mehrotra
Professor, IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010

Law students donate 125 hours to tax filing assistance

May 20, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Students from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law helped local low-income residents file 54 tax returns this spring, resulting in thousands of dollars of refunds.

The students, participating in the law school's inaugural Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, volunteered a total of 125 hours during the tax season.

Tax form

IU Maurer School of Law students dedicated more than 125 hours of volunteer time to help qualifying individuals file tax returns this spring

"I especially enjoyed the VITA program because it allowed me to gain real tax experience while helping low-income individuals of the IU community," student volunteer Lindsay Albert said. "Filing your tax return can be a daunting task to someone who has little to no tax knowledge, and we were all happy to help alleviate some of that stress."

The Internal Revenue Service prohibits the release of total refund dollars obtained, but participants estimated the refunds to be "many thousands of dollars."

Twenty-five students participated in the program, volunteering time on Wednesday and Thursday nights during the spring. They worked with low-income, elderly, disabled, and limited-English speaking clients. Working with a wide demographic range of clients provided the students with practical experience.

"There is a tremendous need for these services," said Jennifer Zissou, a law student and one of the VITA program coordinators. "Our clients were always extremely grateful and although we are not the most prominent VITA site in town, there was never a shortage of people in need of assistance. We look forward to expanding our services next year."

All student program volunteers were trained and certified by the IRS. Students from the Kelley School of Business, coordinated by the Beta Alpha Psi honorary fraternity, also assisted at the law school's VITA site.

Qualifying taxpayers will be able to receive filing assistance at the law school next spring. Details will be released in early 2011.