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IU Northwest School of Business and Economics recognized for tax assistance services

IRS recognized school's 20 years of outstanding contributions to public service


IU Northwest file photo
James Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Accounting, and Anna Rominger, J.D., Dean of the School of Business and Economics.

The Internal Revenue Service recently recognized the Indiana University Northwest School of Business and Economics for 20 years of outstanding contributions to public service through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program (TCE). 

Thousands of dollars in tax refunds that might otherwise be lost to their rightful taxpayers are returned every year to low income earners courtesy of the volunteer services of IU Northwest accounting students and their faculty and staff mentors. 

Over the past year, 10 IU Northwest students collectively logged 334 hours of volunteer work, preparing 129 federal tax returns and 140 state tax returns for low income and elderly members of the Northwest Indiana community. The clients were refunded a total of $188,142 in federal refunds and $23,247 in state tax refunds. The average adjusted gross income for the clients was just over $20,500. 

The tax preparers are primarily senior and post-baccalaureate students who participate in 20 hours of online tax review and training conducted by the IRS. They gain valuable field experience in tax law, tax software, privacy and financial literacy while conducting themselves professionally and honing their critical thinking skills by addressing complex regulatory problems -- all while providing a much-needed community service. 

“It’s a wonderful example of community engagement,” said Anna Rominger, J.D., Dean of the School of Business and Economics. “It’s mutually beneficial for the students who are learning and for the community that is being served. It’s an ideal example of the kind of valuable community service an institution can provide.” 

James Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and coordinator of the program, said VITA has a long and successful history at IU Northwest. 

“We were able to build upon that history and provide an opportunity to increase student learning, community financial assistance, cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service and help to sustain the regional vitality of Northwest Indiana,” Thomas said. 

This year, a grant from the Byron Root Trust enabled the program to expand its services to the elderly. As a result, 15 senior citizens received assistance at a reasonable cost. 

Marilyn Vasquez, J.D., Associate Professor of Accounting, assists the students in preparing the returns and Helen Harmon, Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Programs, assists with client scheduling and preparation.  

IU Northwest offers the only public business program in Northwest Indiana that is accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB), which is the premier business accreditation attained by only five percent of business schools worldwide.

Published: 

Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Comunications
980-6536
ebanas@iun.edu

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Comunications
981-4358
erikrose@iun.edu

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School of Business and Economics